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Trench Warning from OSHA

Monday, October 10, 2011

Two workers are killed every month in trench collapses. Unprotected trenches are among the deadliest hazards in the construction industry and the loss of life is devastating.Since 2003, more than 200 workers have died in trench cave-ins and hundreds more have been seriously injured. OSHA has three new guidance products to educate employers and workers about the hazards in trenching operations.

The new products include a fact sheet, QuickCard and a poster that warns, “An Unprotected Trench is an Early Grave.”

The three documents may be ordered in English- and Spanish-language versions from the Publications page of OSHA’s web site. See the news release for more information.
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Roco Techniques Right at your Fingertips!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The newly revised Roco Pocket Guide features fifty-eight pages of color illustrations of the actual techniques and systems taught in our classes.

Made from a synthetic paper impervious to moisture, this pocket-sized field guide will hold up in the most unfavorable environments.The newly revised Roco Pocket Guide features fifty-eight pages of color illustrations of the actual techniques and systems taught in our classes. Made from a synthetic paper impervious to moisture, this pocket-sized field guide will hold up in the most unfavorable environments.
Tabbed sections offer a quick reference in the following topics: knot tying techniques, rope care tips, anchoring, belaying, patient packaging, litter rigging, lowering systems and a confined space types chart.

Roco's New Pocket Guide is the perfect reference when working in the field. Retail price: $ 35.00

You can purchase a copy of Roco’s NEW Pocket Guide (Model # R910C) for $35.00 by visiting our online shop, or order by phone at 800-647-7626.

Register to WIN a Roco Pocket Guide.
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ConocoPhillips-Alaska attends FastTrack 120 in Baton Rouge

Thursday, September 29, 2011

“I have attended other Technical Rescue training programs, and the instruction and training that I have received during this FAST TRACK 120 course has been within the top 3 courses I’ve attended in my 20 years in the Fire Service.” ~ Jason Kuni Diorec, Emergency Response Assistant Chief, ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc.During a recent FastTrack 120 class in Baton Rouge, we had the opportunity to talk with one of our students who traveled all the way from Alaska.

He told us of his plant’s unique needs based on their location and how they require a wide variety of emergency response skills to handle the responses in their remote area. FastTrack 120 is Roco’s most intense program and includes 12 days of confined space and high angle rope training. Certification testing based on NFPA is conducted at the end of the program, which includes individual skills testing, scenario-based performance evaluations, and a written exam.

Q: Why is this type of training important to your team?

FastTrack student, Will Rogillio, makes patient access through a horizontal pipe during a confined space exercise using SAR at the Roco Training Center in Baton Rouge.

A: We are a unique industrial facility due to our remote location on the Alaska North Slope. We are isolated from any emergency response services for miles, so we supplyour own emergency response services to protect life and property in the Boundaries of ConocoPhillips leased land.

This makes our responses very similar to any other Municipal Fire Department plus the industrial aspect as well, which includes: Hydrocarbon Fires, Structural Fires, Medical Emergencies, Haz Mat, Spill Response, and Technical Rescue.

Q: How or when could these techniques be used at your location?

A: Since our facility operates around the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, our Technical Rescue team has the potential to be called upon at any time.

Student Joe Roske being lowered into a 24" shaft using rapid deployment techniques to make quick access to the patient in a confined space scenario.

Q: How has your team benefited from this training experience?

A: Our Technical Rescue Team has developed a very strong skills set in training and practice. This has allowed us to gain the confidence of the people we protect.

Q: What was your favorite part of the Roco class?

A: My personal favorite was the “hands-on” component. The repetitive skills stations followed by scenario-based practicals allowed me to acquire the skills that I would not have been able to comprehend just from a lecture and book information.

Q: How did you like training at the Roco Training Center (RTC)?

Using a SKED stretcher, Mark Snellgrove and Mike Vaccaro package their patient (Joe Roske) and prepare him for a raise and then a "pick and pivot" exercise over a low point edge.

A: The facility was impressive. It is designed to exceed any skill level of student with the right instructors.

Q: Why did you choose Roco Training?

A: My company, ConocoPhillips, has been trained by Roco for years. Roco has the techniques and skills that best meet our needs.

Special thanks to Jason Kuni Diorec for providing this information – and to Roco Instructors Russell Kellar (Chief Instructor) from Austin, Texas; Bob Kauer from New York; and Neal Thurman from Baton Rouge. We appreciate you guys!
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Honouring Those Who Serve…

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Roco’s Tim Armstrong (Roco Rescue of Canada) recently told us about a most worthwhile project for military personnel and first responders that’s called Honour House. The first of its kind in Canada, Honour House is a newly renovated $4 million home that provides temporary housing for injured or disabled military personnel or first responders and their families while seeking medical care in the Metro Vancouver area.

Just so happens, Honour House is located in New Westminster, B.C., where Tim is currently the Fire Chief. According to him, “The citizens and surrounding departments have been very supportive of the project, because it truly is a way to help those who have been injured in the line of duty or while serving their country. When recovering from a serious injury or returning home after military service, it is wonderful to have a resource such as Honour House to rely on for support.”

In fact, Honour House sounds very much like the special housing and support provided for the families of children receiving critical medical care at facilities such as at St. Jude’s here in the US – but this home is for military forces and first responders – fire, police and emergency response personnel – who are injured in the line of duty. It’s the first of its kind that we’ve heard about.




The idea for Honour House came about following a special benefit to recognize Canadian troops for their service in Afghanistan. It became apparent that special assistance was needed to those individuals returning home – especially those who were returning injured or wounded. It was determined that Canadian forces and first responders who were receiving care or rehabilitation in the Metro-Vancouver area medical facilities were experiencing difficulty in finding temporary housing for their families.

We salute Honour House of Canada – what an incredible way to honor (or honour) your country’s military personnel and emergency responders than to provide assistance to their families while medical care is being provided.



The Honour House Society, an independent registered charity whose objective is to provide free interim accommodation for the families of Canadian Forces and first responders, is pleased to have met its goal of opening the first of its kind home for families of Canadian forces and first responders.

Fact: Canadian troops have served in Afghanistan since 2002, with more than 35,000 men and women having completed at least one tour of duty. More than 150 Canadians have been killed and over 4,500 have been injured.

Here’s a great quote by Rick Hiller, Chief of Defense Staff… and we couldn’t agree more!

“When a soldier steps on foreign soil in a high-risk environment, every single Canadian [or American] should be walking with him or her.”~

Check out the Honour House’s website.

You can also view the YouTube video to learn more about the Honour House.
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Has emergency response improved since 9/11?

Monday, September 26, 2011

We recently read an article from the NFPA Journal about the improvements that have been made since 9/11. Out of this tragedy came some very hard lessons learned – from an emergency response standpoint as well as national security and building codes, especially for high-rise structures. Are we better prepared? Is your department better equipped today for acts of terrorism or natural disaster? Has communications improved among responding agencies? Are you better trained as an emergency responder? An article in the September/October 2011 issue of the NFPA Journal cites three main areas that have improved as a direct result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

These improvements include: (1) interoperability for emergency responders; (2) high-rise building safety; and, (3) emergency preparedness. Staff Writer Fred Durso Jr. cites several NFPA standards developed or enhanced based on the lessons learned from the response, such as the need for an “all-hazards” approach. For example, NFPA 1981, a standard about SCBAs for emergency services, now requires these respiratory products to protect against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) agents.

NFPA 1851, a standard about protective ensembles for structural and proximity firefighting, now covers cleaning and decontamination of the PPE, and NFPA 1561, Emergency Services Incident Management System, requires using “clear text” terminology during an incident instead of radio codes.

He cites several NFPA standards developed or enhanced based on the lessons learned from the response, such as the need for an all-hazards approach. For example, NFPA 1981, a standard about SCBAs for emergency services, now requires these respiratory products to protect against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) agents. NFPA 1851, a standard about protective ensembles for structural and proximity firefighting, now covers cleaning and decontamination of the PPE, and NFPA 1561, Emergency Services Incident Management System, requires using “clear text” terminology during an incident instead of radio codes, Durso writes.

NFPA’s High-Rise Building Safety Advisory Committee, formed in 2004, developed proposals for NFPA’s Fire Code, Life Safety Code, and Building Construction and Safety Code to implement recommendations from the NIST investigations (published in 2005 and 2008) into why three of the World Trade Center buildings collapsed after the 9/11 attacks. One change in NFPA 5000, the Building Construction and Safety Code, specifies wider exit stairs when a cumulative occupant load of 2,000 or more people is expected to use them, he writes.

NFPA 1600, the standard for disaster/emergency management and business continuity, has been available free since 2005; the 2010 edition is now available (click here to download). NFPA is developing a program to train people who are charged with auditing private-sector programs that use the 1600 standard, according to the article.

The National Fire Protection Association and the International Code Council, whose model building and fire codes are the blueprint for most U.S. communities, followed most of the 9/11 investigators’ recommendations. They made significant changes in the 2009 and the upcoming 2012 codes, which apply to new high-rise buildings.

The national code improvements include glow-in-the-dark exit markings in stairways; a third or fourth stairway depending on the building’s height; greater separation between those stairways to lessen the chance of a single calamity disabling all of them; stickier, more robust fire-proofing, with inspections to ensure its proper application; backup water supplies for sprinklers; impact-resistant walls around elevator and stairwell shafts; fortified elevators that firefighters and, in some cases, occupants can use in an emergency; stricter and more consistent fire-resistance standards for skyscrapers’ structural components; radio amplifiers that help rescuers better communicate inside buildings; and improved emergency evacuation plans and disaster drills.

 


Illustration by William Neff, John Mangels.

Referring to the image above:

a) More, better sprinklers - must cover all floors, with backup water supply in case the primary system fails.

b) Tougher windows – panels laminated with clear, adhesive film or backed up with Kevlar curtains to prevent flying shards in case of explosion.

c) Spread-out utilities – piping and mechanical equipment for water, electric power, telephone, and air conditioning ducts to be put in separate locations so a single explosion doesn’t take out all systems at once.

d) Structural improvements – to lessen the risk of progressive collapse, additional support columns for redundancy; diagonal bracing to transfer loads if a column fails; improved fireproofing materials; no open web bar trusses, which collapse easily in a fire.

e) Non-obvious obstacles - rather than ugly walls and Jersey barriers, designers employ mix of planters, decorative fencing and benches, to deter car bombers.

f) Added distance – building is set back at least 50-10o feet from street, to blunt blast impact.

g) Access control – building entrances equipped with fingerprint or retina scanners, facial recognition cameras, card readers, metal detectors, explosives sniffers and other screening devices.

h) Blast protection – lower level support columns encased in concrete; exterior walls reinforced with steel plates and backed with Kevlar fabric to absorb explosion energy from a car or truck bomb.

g) Protected Deliveries – mail room and loading docks – where bombs may enter – should be hardened and isolated from critical building systems.

h) Ventilation protection – air-intake shafts should be at least 20 feet above ground level to reduce chances of noxious gases getting inside.

i) Stairwell improvements – minimum of 3 per floor, separated by at least 30 feet; branching at lower floors to allow multiple exits from building; should have fire and impact resistant concrete walls; high-flow ventilation to remove smoke; battery powered emergency lights and loud speakers; luminous paint guide strips and signs in case of power failure; extra wide 66- inch stairs to accommodate evacuees and rescuers.

j) Shielded elevator - building lifts should be shielded from impact with fire resistant shafts and fitted with waterproof electronics, so they can be used to evacuate occupants in fire or blast emergencies.

k) Reliable communication - internal antennas will allow fire and police radios to work throughout the building.

As the fire service began to rebuild and recover from 9/11, departments large and small across the country evaluated their level of preparedness and found it lacking according to an article by Bob Vaccaro,who has more than 30 years of fire-service experience. A key factor in enhancing preparedness was increased funding from DHS and grants from the AFG and SAFER programs.

Thanks to this funding, many municipalities have been able to upgrade apparatus, radio communications and personal protective equipment. We’ve seen decon units and WMD trailers with caches of equipment purchased and stored in various areas of the country. Post-9/11 funding also helped some poorer areas purchase much-needed apparatus. For some departments, it was their first new apparatus in many years; for others, it was their first-ever new rig.

Radio communications and wireless communications have improved vastly since 9/11. Many large cities and counties have purchased command vehicles and have learned and practiced the incident command system. Although we’ve by no means solved the problem of all agencies being able to talk to one another, significant advances have been made.

References:
Occupational Health & Safety
Cleveland.com
Fire Fighter Nation
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