Roco Rescue



Input Deadline for NFPA 350 Fast Approaching!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

 Deadline: January 3, 2014. There's only about 30 days left to submit your input on the proposed NFPA 350 Best Practices Guide for Safe Confined Space Entry and Work. If you are involved in any kind of confined space work or rescue (municipal or industrial), now is the time to offer your comments. While it is currently listed as a “Best Practices Guide,” that does not mean that at some point in the future it won’t possibly become an NFPA Standard. So, whether you agree or disagree, the time to offer your input is NOW!

Public comment will be accepted online until January 3, 2014. Go to In order to comment you must log in with your email and password - or you can quickly create an account.

Click here to download the PDF version. (Note: Download may take up to 3 minutes depending on your computer.)

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Suggested Operating Guidelines for Training

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Suggested Operating Guidelines (SOG) - written directives that establish a standard course of action on how a department intends to operate.

Most departments have SOGs for different rescue scenarios, but often overlook the importance of establishing procedures for safe training. A look at the stats reveals that while 10% of firefighter deaths occur in the line of duty, more than 7,000 injuries occur each year during training!

SOGs for safe training operations should be developed by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). Each department has different needs, and the type of training can vary tremendously. Even interdepartmental training varies. Start by defining the who, what, where and when for your organization. Simple, but effective in establishing a comprehensive plan for safe training.


a. The Instructor
Who is allowed to conduct training? What qualifications do they need prior to conducting training? What training have they completed to make them a subject matter expert on what they are about to teach? Have they been trained to identify the potential hazards involved in the training and emergency procedures? Do they have the knowledge to identify the proper and needed equipment to do the training? Have they been trained to identify safe areas to conduct the training?

b. The Student
Who is allowed to participate in the training? (i.e., department members only, full duty only, physical requirements, prerequisites, etc.)


What type of training is to be allowed, and to what extent or level of training? What will be allowed as “in-service” training vs. what is allowed at the academy only? An example of in-service training might be “patient packaging and reviewing M/A systems,” while life-loading lines may be academy only – or only conducted when a designated instructor is present. What hazards are associated with the training and what precautions need to be taken? What laws and regulations are applicable to the training?


Where will the training be conducted? Classroom, apparatus floor, roof of firehouse, other field locations, training prop only? It is important that designated, approved, and pre-identified areas be established in order to conduct safe and effective training.


When will the training be conducted? What about refresher training? How often and when will training schedule cover all shifts and all personnel? Is weather a factor when scheduling? Off-duty training or not?

Next Steps - Organizing the Training Program

Lesson plans, outlines, and a system to qualify those who will be giving the instruction should be mandatory, especially when it comes to technical rescue training. Fire departments have a tendency to fall back on having the “experienced” guy train the “new” guy. Or, the line officer may be responsible for teaching a technique he is not totally familiar with. This works until somebody gets hurt. We all know that criminal and civil litigation issues can bury a department and its command staff.

Appoint a “Training Chief/Officer,” who can identify the department’s specific training needs, put a plan in place and keep the team on the training track. Identify risks, write solid lesson plans and operating guidelines, and create a solid schedule for training. Detailed outlines should be established for each skill/technique that is taught, and should be accessible to trainers, and trainees.

Send designated training officers to technical rescue courses that meet and issue certification to NFPA 1006. Note that most (if not all) rescue equipment comes with a warning from the manufacturer stating that “the enclosed literature on the use and care of this equipment is no substitute to receiving proper training.” Enough said.

Conducting safe rescue training procedures should be included in any good SOG. Establishing definite training protocols is the first step to avoiding injury or worse.

West Valley Fire's website has many sample Standard Operating Guidelines for download. Congrats to that department for putting their ideas out there, and sharing the info with the rest of us. 

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Horizontal Pick & Pivot Rescue Technique

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The video below shows a Horizontal Pick & Pivot technique taking place onboard the USS Kidd in downtown Baton Rouge, LA. The scenario took place this week, at a Roco open-enrollment class - Industrial Rescue III, and features students from Texas, Louisiana & Alaska. This technique is critical when performing a horizontal raise, when there are no available high-points.

This predominantly "scenario-based" course challenges individual rescuers (and teams) in a wide variety of confined space and high angle rescue exercises. With the addition of new and more advanced techniques, students will enhance their skills and teamwork abilities in numerous practice scenarios. As the problems progress in difficulty, students get a feel for executing an entire rescue operation from start to finish.

By placing specific time limitations on each scenario, Industrial Rescue III gives students the experience of "working under pressure," just as in a real emergency. You can see from the short video above taken by a chief instructor, Roco classes provide a thrill a minute. Great job guys!

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Industrial Rescuers Share Challenge Experience

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Each scenario presented at Challenge focuses on a realistic confined space emergency that industrial rescue teams may face. Once the hazards, patient’s conditions and rescue requirements are outlined, the rescue team goes to work. When the rescue operation is complete, the Evaluator, normally a Roco Chief Instructor, debriefs team members, pointing out techniques, best practices, oversights and potential improvements that can be made. This is where the hands-on learning really pays off.

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Roco Rescue Challenge '13 a Great Success!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Roco Rescue Challenge 2013 came to a close on Thursday, October 10 with a great sense of camaraderie. Teams benefited by sharing techniques, strategies and accomplishments. All seven participating teams did an extraordinary job. Congratulations to each and every one of you!

Director of Training, Dennis O’Connell summed Rescue Challenge up eloquently. “Hope you never run into a scenario in real life as hard as the ones you've had at Challenge ’13,” he chuckled as he gave the closing remarks.

Make sure to check out our Facebook page to see photos from Rescue Challenge 2013, and check back here for the release of the 2013 video!

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