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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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In the Trenches with Santa Fe Fire Dept

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

We received this great email and photo from Jan M. Snyder, Battalion Chief for the City of Santa Fe Fire Department. Thanks for the feedback, Chief!

“I want to thank you for all your help and coordination this year with all the City of Santa Fe Fire Department has done with ROCO. Last week’s Technical Trench class was a huge hit, the guys loved it and Tim, Rich, and Brent were great. The quality of the ROCO programs and instructors has never failed us and we look forward to further training opportunities in the future.”


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Roco Canada

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pictured is our Rescue I-Plus class, September 20-24, 2010 in North Vancouver, BC. Another great group of students from Canada, Alaska and New York!

Roco Chief Instructor Tom Morgan and Instructor Randy Engemoen enjoyed getting to know the group, and as you can see the weather cooperated nicely on picture day.


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Rescue Team Profile – Motiva-Convent

Monday, October 04, 2010

As part of our mission to develop a rescue community, we are asking teams to share their rescue experiences with the blog group. This month, Motiva in Convent, LA relates an interesting real-rescue their team faced.

This Motiva team has been working together for 20 years! They practice quarterly to keep their skills sharp, and have had to use their skills in action. Like so many of our guys, they find the Petzl ID to be a very useful and user friendly piece of equipment.

Here’s the story the Motiva team shared.

While cleaning in the engine room of a tug, a contractor had fallen off a grating onto the engine of the tug boat. Convent’s ERT reported to the dock, donned life vests and made their way into the engine room where they got a briefing from the tug captain and started assessing the patient. The patient was complaining of shoulder, leg, and back injuries.

Once the initial medical assessment was completed, a Sked stretcher and backboard were requested because of the narrow stairway leading to the engine room. A haul team was positioned on the dock using a crane as a high point. Crane was “locked & tagged out” once put into position. A main line and tag lines were lowered onto the barge and a 4:1 hauling system was set-up on the dock (multiple directionals were used because of the dock configuration).

A secondary medical evaluation was performed, and the patient was packaged in the Sked. The patient was then brought up from the engine room. Once on the deck, two safety lines (1head/1feet) were placed on the patient because he had to be slid along the handrail to be removed from the tug.

Once on the barge, the patient was connected to the main line and hauled up to the dock. From this point, medical care was transferred to Acadian Ambulance.

Special thanks to James Louque, HTU-2 Operations, V.E.R.T. Captain, C-Shift at Motiva’s Convent Refinery for taking the time to share their experience.



The Rescue Team at Motiva-Convent Kneeling: Brady Edmonston, Derres Gautreaux, James Louque 2nd row: Ryan Roussel, Ted Roussel, John Guidry, Brian Crochet Back row: Todd Devare, Jesser Louque, Edward Turner, Randy Rogers
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