Roco Rescue



Fast Track to Technical Rescue

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Orange (Texas) Fire Department recently completed Roco’s Fast-Track™ 120 course, which is arguably the ultimate rope rescue training experience. 

This 120-hour program works on techniques to produce a “well-rounded” rescuer who is capable of safely and effectively responding to a wide variety of confined space and rope rescue incidents.

Why is this type of training important for fire departments? OFD Deputy Chief, Jerald Ziller explains.

“A highly skilled technical rescue team is a tradition and has been deemed essential for the City of Orange Fire Department.  Our technical rescue team is partially funded by local industry which utilizes our team as the primary responders or as a secondary resource.  This collaborative effort has been in existence since the early 1990’s.  The residual effect of this training is a highly effective technical rescue team available to non-industrial situations that occur more frequently.  Most of the members of our team were trained by ROCO but we changed to utilize locally available training vendors for the past several years.  We realized that changing the basic foundation of our training affected the final performance of our teams training evolutions and possibly actual response capability.  We decided to return to ROCO for our basic training utilizing a ROCO instructor at our training facility for private training.  We feel the cost of the training as compared to the other vendors we have utilized recently is a greatest overall value.  The training was partially funded by a grant from the Texas Forest Service which added to the best overall value.”

The skills learned in Fast-Track™ 120 are put to work in many situations encountered by fire department personnel. “Technical rescue capability has been utilized by the Orange Fire Department on many occasions both in the industrial setting and during responses to other areas within the city.  The most frequent industrial responses are at shipbuilding or ship repair facilities.  We have utilized these skills for victims in a building collapse, construction sites, and manholes…

A relatively new service we offer to our industrial partners is confined space rescue stand-by.  Our pre-planning skills and industrial environment familiarization have been greatly improved by this service.  It gives our team members the opportunity to earn overtime wages with a neutral cost to the city because the industrial partner reimburses the city for the overtime charges,”  said Deputy Chief Jerald Ziller.

With a large concentration of industrial facilities within its response area, the Orange Fire Department has a unique responsibility to the community as well as the surrounding industries who play such a vital role in the local economy. In delivering the highest level of service, it is important for OFD Firefighters to be trained in both Confined Space and Rope Rescue techniques.

“A well-trained and equipped rescue team is essential to meet the needs of the community as well as local industry. An efficient and effective response only serves to further enhance the trust and confidence of all its citizens,” Roco Chief Instructor, Russell Kellar elaborated.

Fast-Track™ 120 is the ultimate rope rescue experience, preparing rescuers for an effective response to a wide variety of incidents. Perfect for municipal fire departments who need a good range of skills in confined space and rope rescue. OFD Fire Chief, David Frenzel, couldn’t agree more.

A special thanks to Roco Chief Instructor Russell Kellar for providing this information. Russ has been a Roco Instructor since 1993 and has taught Confined Space & Rope Rescue to many hundreds of students over the years at locations all across the nation. He is currently a Lieutenant with the Austin (TX) Fire Department and has served his community for the past 23 years. Russ is also a member of TX-Task Force 1 and has served on multiple deployments since joining the Task Force in 1997.

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Rescue I-Plus Class Photo

Friday, April 15, 2011

We had a great group at the March, Rescue I-Plus open-enrollment class in Baton Rouge. With 30 students from Louisiana to Alaska, the class was a great learning experience as well as a lot of fun. Roco Instructors for this class included Chief Instructor Russ Kellar (Austin) , Rob “Soup” Campbell (Baton Rouge); Bob Kauer (New York); Brent Glidden (LaPlace, LA); and Keith Pridgen (El Dorado, Arkansas).

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Tigers trump Tide in Bassmaster College Classic

Monday, February 21, 2011

NEW ORLEANS — The Fishing Tigers of Louisiana State University met the Alabama Crimson Tide Sunday morning on Lake Verret, which lies roughly 90 miles west of New Orleans. Roco-sponsored TJ Goodwyn shows off his wares for the LSU Tiger Team. The 2011 Bassmaster Classic will be aired this week-end (Feb 26-27) on ESPN2. The Tide came into the event as reigning champs behind their victory at the inaugural Bassmaster College Classic last year.

However, the Tide proved to be a bit low this year as the Tigers won by more than 8 pounds. 

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Roco BLOG hits outstanding numbers!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In the past 7 months, we’ve had more than 18,000 hits on our Blog! We’d like to thank everyone for reading– and encourage you to ask a question of our Tech Panel. Or, let us know what you want to read more about – Techniques? Equipment? Standards & Regulations?

We’re here to get you the answers and information you need to do your jobs more safely and effectively – so let us know how we can help! You can email your suggestions to Help us keep the numbers climbing in 2011 and stay in the loop!
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Practice for the Unexpected

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Helpful tips from Roco Chief Instructor Pat Furr:

Is your rescue team in a rut? Do you end up practicing the same two or three rescue scenarios during your training drills? If you answered yes, then your’re probably getting bored – or, worse yet, you may be setting your team up for failure when confronted with an emergency that’s different than what you have repeatedly practiced.

Think outside the box a little. Come up with some “What ifs?” that are different than what you normally practice. Of course, you need to keep it realistic and appropriate for your response area – don’t waste your time practicing scenarios that have no chance of actually occurring. However, do challenge your team to the ”unexpected” scenario in practice before you face it in real life.

Rescue teams must also take into consideration the “types of confined spaces with respect to opening size, configuration and accessibility” within their response area when determining practice drills. OSHA requires practice from the actual or representative permit spaces at least once a year. For municipal responders, we recommend that they be prepared for all six confined space types because they never know what type of situation they may face. (Download Roco’s Confined Space Types Chart.)

If you’re the one who’s responsible for setting up proficiency training for your team, ask your team members to come up with some ideas that are different from your typical drill. You might be surprised with what they come up with. If you’re a team member, approach your training manager with some suggestions to change things up a bit. Once the idea is planted and your team starts to run a variety of training scenarios, the idea will catch on. In fact, team members may try to “outdo each other on coming up with the next new scenario.

Here at Roco, we know that one of the most popular training blocks for our students is the infamous “Yellow Brick Road.” This is a multi-station scenario where rescuers must “think on their feet” and adapt to an ever-changing situation. It is always challenging and gratifying for the teams. For those of you that have had me as an instructor, you know that I will be throwing a wrench into the mix somewhere along the road.

Of course, we all know that our victims don’t read the training manuals – they’re always coming up with new and different ways to get into trouble. If (and when) your team is faced with a rescue that is completely different than the “same old, same old,” then you will be ready to deal with the situation because you have practiced for the unexpected. As rescuers, we need to think “Semper Gumby” (Latin for “always flexible”) as one of those skill sets that doesn’t appear in the book. Remember, when it comes to your team’s practice drills, keep them guessing, but at the same time, keep it real.

If you’d like some ideas on keeping your practice sessions realistic, but challenging, contact us here at Roco.
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