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New from OSHA: Is 911 your Confined Space Rescue Plan?

Monday, May 16, 2016

OSHA has a new Fact Sheet for “Confined Spaces in Construction” that is designed to keep workers and emergency responders safe in permit-required confined spaces.

The new document from OSHA stresses that employers must select a service that has the ability to respond and conduct rescue in a timely manner based on site conditions and potential hazards specific to the space. It also states that “an employer who relies on local emergency services for assistance is required to meet the requirements of 1926.1211-Rescue and emergency services.”

This Fact Sheet includes information for emergency response providers along with key questions to consider before making a commitment to respond. It also emphasizes the importance of preplanning while encouraging service providers to work closely with employers in order to be properly prepared for the challenges they may face.

Click here to download OSHA Fact Sheet.

“Permit-required confined spaces can present conditions that are immediately dangerous to workers’ lives or health if not properly identified, evaluated, tested and controlled.”

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New CS Types Chart & Compliance Guide

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

This helpful new guide provides information for evaluating your rescue team or prospective rescue service based on the requirements of OSHA 1910.146 and 1926 Subpart AA. It includes a Rescue Team Evaluation Checklist from Appendix F and illustrates Confined Space Types 1-6, which is based on criteria from OSHA 1910.146. Roco’s method of categorizing confined spaces by various types can be useful in establishing practice requirements for your rescue service.

Responding in a safe, effective and timely manner to the various types of permit-required confined spaces at your facility is required by OSHA regulations 1910.146 (PRCS) and 1926 Subpart AA Confined Spaces in Construction.
An effective response by your rescue service is crucial to the safety of workers who are tasked with entering confined spaces to perform their job duties.

In order to be prepared, rescue teams can use this chart to plan their practice drills to include all of the various types of confined spaces. Appendix F of 1910.146 states that rescuers may practice in representative spaces that are considered “worst case” or most restrictive with respect to internal configuration, elevation and portal size. This illustrated guide will serve as a reminder to be prepared for the unexpected when planning for confined space emergencies for the safety of the rescuers and the entrants.

Register to Receive Your Free Confined Space Rescue Types Chart & Compliance Guide

Just give us your info, and Roco will mail you a copy.


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Roco QUICK DRILL #11 - Patient Packaging (Single Rescuer)

Monday, April 11, 2016

One of the skills that separates a good team from a great team is patient handling; how quickly and efficiently a patient can be packaged for movement. Patient packaging and lashing is one area that can save a lot of time during a real rescue. This becomes even more critical when rescuers are wearing SCBA. Good patient packaging skills can significantly reduce the time rescuers and the patient are exposed to hazards.

Here's the drill for patient packaging with a single rescuer:

1) Lay out a main line and safety line system with needed materials to attach to a litter for both vertical and horizontal movement as well as for taglines and attendant.

2) Lay out the necessary equipment to lash and build both vertical and horizontal bridles for a given litter. Make sure it is laid out the same way for each participant.

3) Properly place simulated patient/manikin in litter.

4) Tell participant what packaging system is to be built. Example: Sked vertical with attendant or stokes horizontal with taglines.

5) Log the time it takes for each team member to package the patient, build a bridle and make main and safety line connections.

6) Once the team member is finished, inspect the system for accuracy and correct any mistakes. Discuss the technique used and what can be done to decrease the time needed to complete the system. Possible areas to decrease times include: (a) enhancing the individual's skill level; (b) streamlining the order in which the packaging was completed; or (c) considering pre-rig options for the litter to save time during a real rescue.

7) Repeat the drill alternating with vertical and horizontal rigging and the use of tagline and attendants. This drill can also be extended to backboard lashing, short spine immobilizers or webbing hasty harnesses.

Some type of patient packaging is going to be involved in every rescue scenario where a patient needs to be extricated. This could be from a confined space, high angle environment, or low angle/low slope. Being proficient in packaging is critical for rescue efficiency as well as overall patient care. Practice often!

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What piece of the “rescue puzzle” is your team missing?

Thursday, March 03, 2016

By Dennis O'Connell, Director of Training for Roco Rescue

As we all know, the moment you enter an industrial facility, you’re instructed about who to notify in case of an emergency. And if something happens – no matter what the emergency – you can bet they’re going to call the rescue team. The question is, “When the call comes in, will your team be ready?”


Having taught rescue in industrial plants for more than 20+ years, I’ve observed how industrial rescue teams have been created and how they’ve been trained. I’ve also observed how they have responded to various types of incidents – including some rescue scenarios they could have never expected.

Over the years, I’ve also seen how the needs of rescue teams change. That’s one reason we continue to update and modify our training programs. We want the industrial teams that we train to be able to respond safely and effectively to all the various types of emergencies they may face at an industrial facility. Again, when help is needed, the onsite rescue team will be called!

Greater Demands on Industrial Responders

Back in the day, most sites typically only offered fire brigade training for their emergency responders. Eventually, medical was added, then hazmat, and finally confined space rescue – primarily in response to OSHA 1910.146. And, with permit-required confined spaces, most often comes the need for high angle rescue abilities as well. Once a victim is removed from a confined space, there is generally the need for raising or lowering the victim to ground level for medical transport.

As new regulations and standards have emerged, additional demands have been placed on industrial rescuers. This includes the new Confined Spaces in Construction Standard from OSHA (1926 Subpart AA). This new ruling provides construction workers with protections similar to those manufacturing and general industry workers have had for more than two decades. Differences tailored to the construction industry include requirements to ensure that multiple employers share vital safety information and to continuously monitor hazards – a safety option made possible by technological advances since 1910.146 was issued.

It is also becoming more difficult to justify "dialing 911" with the hope that the local fire department will be able to respond in a timely manner. Industrial sites are being forced to examine the reality of relying on local response agencies. And, in some cases, the plant’s industrial emergency response team may be the community’s best trained and equipped technical rescue capability. As one of our client’s stated after evaluating local response capabilities,

"We are truly an island unto ourselves. When it comes to certain types of emergencies, we're on our own!"

What Can Possibly Go Wrong?

We often focus on the importance of confined space and high angle rescue, but what about the other potential scenarios that industrial rescue teams may face. In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in requests from our clients in a wider variety of rescue disciplines – including Suspended Worker Rescue (Rescue from Fall Protection), Trench Rescue, Machinery Entrapment Rescue (“man in machine” is probably a better description), Water Rescue and Building Collapse for First Responders.

Let’s talk about these disciplines and how they can apply to industrial situations – keeping in mind that medical care will be required in most every situation. Many times those first on the scene have the greatest opportunity to make the difference for an injured worker. The first hour in a medical emergency is a crucial factor in increasing chances for survival.

Suspended Worker Rescue (Rescue from Fall Protection)

With expansion and construction work occurring in many facilities, you can often spot a variety of potential rescue scenarios just waiting to happen. For example, from stacks and vessels to scaffolding and towers, you will often find workers operating at varying heights

Here’s where the industrial rescue team must be ready for a timely response to Suspended Worker Rescue. Because suspension trauma can occur rapidly, time is of the essence. First of all, just reaching a suspended worker can be a challenge. Then, the victim must be raised or lowered to a safe area. Rescuers must have the appropriate equipment to keep themselves from harm’s way and be prepared to act quickly and efficiently.

Trench Rescue

Many sites will have some type of trenching job going on this year. Is your team trained to handle that type of collapse? Do you have the equipment for emergency shoring? Or, who can you call for help?

With an unsupported or improperly shored trench, it will collapse 100% of the time. It’s only a matter of when. Also keep in mind, even a relatively small cave-in involves about 1.5 cubic yards of dirt – or about 4,000 lbs. It is imperative that rescue personnel be trained and equipped prior to tackling one of these type emergencies – they are much more dangerous than they look!

Another key concern or consideration for trench or excavation work is “who” is signing off as to the safety of the trench? In talking with many of our clients, they may send an “entry supervisor” (company representative) to evaluate and sign off on a confined space permit. These individuals may have never been taught what to look for to determine if the protective system is adequate or installed properly. 

OSHA 1926.651(k)(1) states that a “Competent Person” shall inspect the shoring system. This refers to an individual who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings, or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.

OSHA Reference Excerpt [1926.651(k)(1)]
Daily inspections of excavations, the adjacent areas, and protective systems shall be made by a competent person for evidence of a situation that could result in possible cave-ins, indications of failure of protective systems, hazardous atmospheres, or other hazardous conditions. An inspection shall be conducted by the competent person prior to the start of work and as needed throughout the shift. Inspections shall also be made after every rainstorm or other hazard increasing occurrence.

Machinery Entrapment Rescue

As gruesome as it sounds, another eventuality in an industrial or manufacturing facility is someone getting caught in or under machinery or heavy equipment. Is your rescue team ready for this? In these instances, the rapid use of hydraulic spreaders or pneumatic lifting bags can mean the difference in life or death for an entrapped worker.

Consider the many applications that a simple lifting bag might have for rescue or maintenance work. For example, by sliding a one-inch thick lifting bag under or between two objects, you can lift up to 70 tons, up to 20 inches off the ground, depending on bag size. A bag like this could come in pretty handy at a plant or refinery. 

For these horrific incidents, you must consider how long it will take the municipal department to get to your site. Once on scene, are they familiar with the various types of equipment at your facility that may be involved? Do they understand the hazards of the working environment in an industrial facility?

Another gruesome part of machine rescue is impalement. This type of injury requires very specialized care. First of all, do not attempt to remove the impaled object! It needs to remain as is and transported with the patient to the emergency care facility. Again, the question is, who, what and where are the resources to handle this type of job?

Water Rescue

Does your facility have a dock? Do your people work over water? Do you have sediment ponds? If you answered yes to these questions, you should be asking yourself, “What will we do if someone falls in?” “Who will rescue them?” Or, are you going to depend on a coworker to jump in and try to save his buddy? Even basic “Throw, Don’t Go” training and some basic water safety equipment can make a huge difference in a person’s survivability. It could also prevent the situation from getting worse by failed heroic actions. Personal flotation devices are great, but what about when a worker gets swept under a dock or into a current? How will you handle these situations?

Building Collapse Rescue for First Responders

This one caught me off guard when requested by several industrial facilities, but it turns out there are some very good reasons for it. Considering weather disasters, explosions or acts of terrorism, it is a very real concern. Of course, this training for first responders isn’t the full program that is provided for FEMA or USAR teams, but it includes some very specific skill sets that can be extremely useful in industrial incidents.

Here are just a few examples. Emergency shoring techniques can be used to stabilize pipe racks or damaged structures for the rescue of injured workers. They also give industrial teams the ability to move heavy loads (5,000 to 10,000 lbs.) with simple hand tools. Remember, cranes can’t get everywhere, especially in a severely damaged area.

As emergency responders, we need to evaluate our capabilities continually and consider the types of rescue situations to which we may be called. We also need to know what outside resources are available – and, if it’s even possible for them to respond in a timely manner. Just like with confined spaces, we can’t simply dial 911 and hope they know what to do. While you hope it never happens, you’ve got to be prepared for the worst.

Dennis O'Connell has been a technical rescue consultant and professional instructor for Roco Rescue since 1989. He joined the company full-time in 2002 and is now the Director of Training and a Chief Instructor. Prior to joining Roco, he served on the NYPD Emergency Services Unit (ESU) for 17 years.

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Worth the Wait...OSHA’s Confined Space Standard for Construction

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

In our opinion, the new OSHA regulation for Confined Spaces in Construction (Subpart AA of 1926) was worth the wait! This new standard is well thought out and includes some significant as well as subtle differences from the General Industry Permit Required Confined Space Standard 1910.146.

In this article, we will point out additional requirements for compliance for construction activities involving confined spaces. With the exception of residential construction, the final rule became fully enforceable as of October 2, 2015.   

These additional requirements instituted by OSHA are due to the dynamic nature of the construction environment. Dynamic in terms of the continuously evolving configuration of the workplace, and also in the diverse and ever-changing makeup of employers and employees depending on the phase of construction. We feel the most significant differences are not complete shifts in an administrative or operational approach to conducting safe permit required confined space operations, but more of an increased emphasis and clarification of the requirements that were already in place in the General Industry regulations.

“We believe the new standard offers an increased emphasis and clarification of the requirements that were already in place in the General Industry regulations.”

Please pay particular attention and review 1926 Subpart AA for requirements to ensure clear communication and coordination between the varied entities that work in or adjacent to the construction areas that have confined spaces. The lack of accurate communication and coordination continues to be a cause of confined space fatalities.

The need to communicate with the controlling contractor and entry employers regarding any operations that may have introduced a hazard into a confined space is of paramount importance. The failure to do so has repeatedly led to disaster for unsuspecting follow-on entrants into those confined spaces. Likewise, understanding and communicating the types of operations adjacent to, or in the proximity of confined spaces that may negatively affect that entry operation, must be coordinated and communicated.

Also, several new roles and responsibilities have been added to the confined space regulations. One of the most important new roles is that of the “competent person” for confined spaces.

Having a dedicated individual (Competent Person) who has the expertise and background to perform this critical function will undoubtedly result in lives saved.

OSHA has also added clarification to the need to ensure that the designated confined space rescue service is not only available at the time entry operations commence, but also that rescue service must now agree to notify the entry employer if a situation arises that renders them unable to respond to an emergency.


So let’s take a look at some of the particulars of these new requirements and clarifications.

1. Allows an Entry Permit to be suspended, instead of cancelled in the event of changes from the entry conditions list. Ref: 1926.1205(e)(2)

This differs from 1910.146(e)(5) which requires an employer to terminate entry and cancel the entry permit. This change has specific requirements and limits. Suspending a permit is only allowed when a condition that is not allowed under the entry permit arises in or near the permit space and that condition is: (a) temporary in nature; (b) does not change the configuration of the space; and/or, (c) does not create any new hazards within it.

The first action of the entry supervisor must be to terminate entry and ensure all authorized entrants have safely evacuated the space. At that point, the entry supervisor can suspend or cancel the entry permit. Prior to authorizing reentry, the entry supervisor must fully reassess the space before allowing reentry.

2. Includes more detailed provisions requiring coordinated activities when there are multiple employers at the worksite.

This is an important difference compared to the General Industry regulation. It is required due to the ever-changing makeup of the construction workforce and most especially when the need for workers from multiple employers must enter permit spaces at the same time, or perform work activities in the vicinity of the permit space – thus, the potential to introduce new hazards to the space that all employers on site must be aware of and prepare for.

This final provision differs from 1910.146(d)(11) by specifically addressing the need to coordinate work activities through the controlling contractor, as well as with employers working outside the permit space when their work could foreseeably affect conditions within a confined space. The new construction industry standard goes far beyond by outlining the need for coordinated activities between multiple employers by identifying specific roles – host employer, controlling contractor and the entry employer. (Refer to Chart.)

OSHA 1926.1203 General Requirements paragraph (h) includes specific communication and coordination requirements between the various employers and contractors. The host employer must provide certain information they may have about confined spaces to the controlling contractor.

Required information includes items such as:
(a) The location of known permit spaces;
(b) The nature of hazards in those identified permit spaces;
(c) The reason for classifying the space as permit required; and,
(d) Any additional precautions that the host employer, any other controlling contractor, or entry employer have previously employed to protect their employees must be provided.

It is also incumbent upon the controlling contractor to obtain information from the host employer regarding the hazards associated with the permit spaces and any information on previous entry operations into that permit space.

The controlling contractor is responsible for passing information to any entry employer that may authorize entry into that permit space as well to any other entity at the worksite that could foreseeably create a hazard that may affect that confined space.

The entry employer must obtain from the controlling contractor all the information regarding the particular permit space hazards and entry operation information. Additionally, the entry employer must inform the controlling contractor of the provisions of their permit required confined space program and any hazards they expect to confront or create during their entry operations.

It is also very important that the controlling contractor and all entry employers coordinate their activities when multiple entry employers have entrants in the same space, or when other activities around the permit space may create a hazard that affects the confined space entry operation.

At the completion of entry operations, it is equally important that all entities including entry employers and controlling contractors communicate information regarding the particulars of any given entry. This information must include the permit space program followed during the entry operation as well as any hazards confronted or created during entry. Of particular importance is to communicate any hazards created within the confined space that may still be in place. The controlling contractor in turn communicates all of this information to the host employer.

3. Requires a Competent Person to evaluate the work site and identify confined spaces, including permit spaces.

Along with the increased need for strong communications and coordination, the addition of the role of competent person for confined spaces may be one of the most important differences between the general industry standard and the construction standard.

It may seem to be a subtle difference in the two standards’ requirements, but now there is a specific role, or an identified position for conducting an evaluation of the worksite to determine the presence of confined spaces, a determination of the known or potential hazards associated with those confined spaces, and that has the authority to eliminate the identified hazards.

The competent person for confined spaces must have a high degree of expertise in identifying confined spaces and to make an accurate determination of the nature of any known or potential hazards associated with the confined space that would trigger it to be classified a permit space. In the event that the configuration or use of a non-permit required confined space changes, or a new hazard is introduced, the entry employer must have the competent person reevaluate that space to determine if it has become a permit required confined space. This is also true for any confined space that may not have initially been adequately evaluated to identify any known or potential hazards that would require that space to be classified a permit required confined space.

4. Designated rescue service must agree to notify the entry employer immediately if it becomes unavailable.

Although it has always been implied in the general industry standard that the entry supervisor would ensure the designated rescue service is available during entry operations, 1926.1211 explicitly requires an employer to designate a rescue service – in turn, the rescue service agrees to notify the entry employer immediately if they become unavailable to respond.

5. Provide an early warning system for non-isolated engulfment hazards.

This is primarily for sanitary and storm drain entry operations, but is equally important for any entry operations of a similar nature. The type of early warning systems can be as simple as posting an individual as an “upstream watch” to more complex systems such as electronic sensors or camera systems. Whatever system is used to detect an impending engulfment hazard, it must include a means of communications to provide advanced warning to the downstream entrants in time to safely evacuate the space.

We encourage our readers to spend time studying the new regulation, and in particular understanding the points we have highlighted in this article as well as in our downloadable Confined Spaces in Construction Safety Poster. If you have questions, or if we may be of service, please contact us at 800-647-7626.

 

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Watch and Learn at Challenge 2015

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Take in all the action and discover what your team may be missing! With Roco Rescue Challenge 2015 right around the corner, we wanted to share some of the benefits of attending as an observer. Here’s what one of our observers had to say about last year’s event…

"You just can't get everything you need out of a classroom. Coming out and seeing the teams performing different techniques and scenarios allowed us to gain insight that will be used to kick-start our team."

Don't miss the rescue team event of the year! 

Call us at 800-647-7626 and reserve your ticket today.

Rescue teams from across the country will participate in realistic confined space rescue exercises designed by Roco’s top instructors. And, although Challenge is more of a learning event than a competition, trophies will be awarded to the teams with top scores for individual skills proficiency and the infamous “Yellow Brick Road” rescue-relay scenario.

Roco Rescue Challenge meets the annual rescue practice requirements of 1910.146 while providing realistic practice drills in all six confined space types. Written documentation will be provided to each team following the event.

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Do You Need Roco's Industrial Rescue III Training?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

"If you've been through a Roco class, whether it was Roco certification to NFPA 1006, or OSHA compliance training, our new Industrial Rescue III course can be the next step for you and your team. This course will challenge students (and rescue teams) to solve real-world confined space rescue scenarios building on previously learned skills, while introducing new techniques for more complex confined space incidents. 

This scenario-based training will serve as annual compliance documentation (NFPA & OSHA) for confirming rescue capabilities and skills proficiency in various confined space and elevated evolutions. So, if you’re looking for the next step for you or your team, check out Roco’s Industrial Rescue III  for advanced confined space rescue training!" states, Dennis O'Connell, Chief Instructor and Director of Training.
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OPPD Employees Go to Great Heights to Train for Rescues

Monday, July 20, 2015

OPPD (Omaha Public Power District) rescue team members were put to the test by the elements and Roco instructors during a recent rescue class at their facility. During the week-long class, they experienced high temperatures and rain - all while working at varying heights! However, it provided to be a great learning opportunity for the team. “The training as a whole was excellent, top-notch.” quoted Jeremy Kellner, a senior I/C technician at NOS and leader of the rope rescue team.

Here's a story about the training that appeared on the company's website. Roco instructors for the class were Troy Gardner, Robert Kauer, and Dominic Velasquez. 

It's been our pleasure to work with OPPD for the past ten years. To read the full story click here

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RTC Expands to Meet Rescuer Needs

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Construction is well underway on expansions and improvements to the Roco Training Center (RTC.) The goal is to add new confined space shapes and configurations in order to simulate an even wider variety of scenarios that rescuers may face in the real world. 

An additional two-story container configuration is being erected east of the pipe rack module. This will add 10 vertical confined spaces, 2 horizontal confined spaces, and 7 more student platforms for staging rescue equipment and training evolutions. The new area will be under a covered roof, making rescue training on the prop a bit more user-friendly in our south Louisiana climate!

Nearly complete is the new stairway on the south side of the prop that will provide additional access to the structure and more anchor points for rescue students taking courses at RTC. With these new features, the prop is increasing its student capacity by approximately 33 rescuers per day.

Last year a boiler simulator was added which focuses on extremely tight (12" x 15") horizontal confined spaces found at many industrial settings, old and new.

"Roco is constantly surveying our students to find out what their particular problem spaces are," said Dennis O'Connell, Director of Training for Roco. "We try to duplicate those confined spaces at RTC, so students can practice the skills they will need if a problem occurs at their site. This way, they get a more accurate experience."

The anticipated completion date for the additions to RTC is April 15, 2015. It is sure to add a few more challenges for Roco students who are familiar with the prop, as well as a few more conveniences.

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Fast-Track 120 Students Put Skills to Test in Recovery Operation

Friday, August 09, 2013

During a recent Roco Fast-Track 120 class in Albuquerque, New Mexico, two of our students got to use the skills they had just learned during a real world event. On Day 6 of the 12-day class, NM State Police Tactical officers Hugo Munoz and Jose Urbano received a call for assistance in the recovery of an individual that had been swept into one of the many arroyos that crisscross the region following a sudden rainstorm.

Here’s a photo from the Fast-Track 120 class where Officer Urbano is shown “rescuing” Officer Munoz.

The officers responded and found the local fire and law enforcement personnel on scene in the process of devising a plan to recover the victim who was entrapped under a narrow bridge in approximately 6 feet of water. Officer Urbano and Munoz joined in the planning and recommended using some of the rope techniques that they had just learned in the Fast-Track 120 class.

The recovery plan involved the use of a mainline attached to the NM State Police Diver and a 4:1 rigged and ready to be “piggybacked” on the main line in case the diver needed immediate retrieval.

The Diver attached a second line to the recovery bag that was placed around the victim, and the Diver exited the arroyo. Officers Munoz and Urbano attached the 4:1 to the victim’s line and removed the individual from the arroyo. All of the systems used were anchored to multiple vehicles that had responded to the scene.

“Obviously, this makes us very proud that our students can take the techniques learned in our classes and put them to immediate use. Unfortunately, this was a recovery operation. However, we hope that everyone involved was just a little bit safer thanks to the training and capabilities of Officers Urbano and Munoz,” stated Roco Chief Instructor Tim Robson, who led the 120-hour training class.

 

Here's a photo of the scene of the recovery near an arroyo in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

An arroyo is defined as a small, deep gully or channel of an ephemeral stream. Arroyos usually have relatively flat floors and are flanked by steep sides consisting of unconsolidated sediments. They are usually dry except after heavy rainfall. In this area, there are several miles of open-air concrete lined drainage channels that drain an area into the main North Diversion Channel, a tributary of the Rio Grande joining upstream of Albuquerque.

Signs are posted at the constructed arroyos warning to keep out due to danger of flash flooding and other obvious dangers.

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