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Roco QUICK DRILL #2 - SCBA/SAR Proficiency

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Proficiency in the use of PPE is critical to the safety of rescuers. If you can’t protect yourself, you can’t save others!

1. Disassemble the major system components of SCBA and/or SAR system and place in a room in an unorganized pile.

2. Take groups or individual team members into the room and turn out the lights.

3. Instruct them to put the systems together and don the units before exiting the room.


This forces personnel to rely on their other senses to identify the components and put the systems together. The more an individual’s senses are involved in training, the greater the retention of key elements. It is also a good emergency drill for situations that may require a better understanding of PPE at a time when vision may be restricted.

We want you to make the most of every rescue practice session, so our Roco instructors have created "Quick Drills" that can be used any time you have a few minutes to practice with your team. In order to have a well-rounded rescue team, it is so important to maximize your training time and rotate the skills practiced to keep everyone interested and involved. Make sure you cover the basics as well as any techniques or special needs that may be unique to your response area. As always, practice, practice, practice! And, make sure you have the proper training and equipment to safely and effectively do your job.

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Hazcom 2012 & GHS: What Rescuers Need to Know

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

As an emergency responder, it is important to have a good understanding of the dangers and precautions regarding hazardous chemicals. Whether you’re a member of an in-plant industrial team or a municipal fire department, chemical hazards are always a critical factor in emergency incidents. That’s why it’s imperative to identify any particularly hazardous chemicals in your response area. Learn as much as you can, before the emergency happens.

The Time is Now
The first requirement went into effect in December 2013, which means that workers who use hazardous chemicals must be trained to understand the new Safety Data Sheets (SDS), formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). While employees must already have fluency, manufacturers of these products have until December 1, 2015, to switch over to the new format.


OSHA’s HazCom 2012 standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) was revised to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The changes make the information easy to understand across industries, countries and education levels. By adopting and enforcing one standard for labels and safety data sheets that accompany chemicals, employers, workers, health professionals and emergency responders will be better able to address the risks associated with these substances.

As in the past, the HazCom standard imposes certain requirements on manufacturers and importers of chemicals - as well as on employers whose employees can be exposed to chemical hazards in the workplace. The standard “applies to any chemical which is known to be present in the workplace in such a manner that employees may be exposed under normal conditions of use or in a foreseeable emergency.”

Note: This article addresses rescue teams that are subject to Federal OSHA requirements or State Plans operated in lieu of Federal requirements. In states that are not OSHA State Plan states, rescuers employed by a state or political subdivision of the state may not be subject to these requirements.

Q&A for Rescue Teams

Is my rescue team required to meet the HazCom standard?
For rescue services or in-house rescue teams in certain types of industrial facilities, the answer is normally yes. HazCom requirements would apply because team members are working inside the facility and can obviously be exposed to chemical hazards under normal working conditions or in a foreseeable emergency. For others, however, what appears to be a simple answer may not be that simple.

Is compliance required if we don’t work around hazardous chemicals?
The simple answer would seemingly be no, but that answer can be, and likely is, incorrect. In fact, the rescue team often needs to look no farther than its own cache of equipment to find the “hazardous chemical.” The reason the applicability of HazCom to rescue teams is often overlooked is because of assumptions that we make - in this case, rescuers often assume that the term “chemicals” means what we commonly think it means. But, as is often the case with regulations and statutes, words may be specifically defined to include or exclude certain things that common usage does not.

For example, under the HazCom standard, “chemical” means “any substance, or mixture of substances.”  “Hazardous chemical” means “any chemical which is classified as a physical hazard or a health hazard, a simple asphyxiant, combustible dust, pyrophoric gas, or hazard not otherwise classified.” 

As explained by OSHA in its Guidance for Hazard Determination:

The definition of a chemical in the HCS [Hazard Communication Standard] is much broader than that which is commonly used. The HCS definition of chemical is "any element, chemical compound, or mixture of elements and/or compounds."

According to this definition, virtually any product is a "chemical." By this definition, it would mean that “air” is considered a “chemical” under the standard, and OSHA includes “gas under pressure” in its definition of “physical hazards.” Consequently, as one example, the rescue team needs to look no further than its SCBA bottles or its air source for supplied air respirators and charged airlines to find a “hazardous chemical” for purposes of the HazCom standard. Even facilities with comprehensive HazCom programs sometimes overlook their rescue team’s air sources in their programs.

As a rescuer, it's important to get familiar with the new formatting of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and the GHS symbols now. Make sure to review these standards in their entirety as well as your organization’s HazCom policies and procedures. You and your team will be more prepared as these changes are put into place.

Here's a quick guide to the new GHS symbols from OSHA, which will be required by June 1, 2015.

Note: These new OSHA pictograms do not replace the diamond-shaped DOT labels required for the transport of chemicals.

 

Resources:

National Safety Council’s newsletter, “Safer Workplaces”

OSHA Fact Sheet – Hazard Communication Standard Final Rule

OSHA Quick Card – Hazard Communication Safety Data Sheets


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Rescue Toolbox: Webbing Adjustment Technique

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Here's a handy Webbing Adjustment Shortening Technique for adjusting webbing length when rigging litters.


To watch more safety tips from Director of Training Dennis O'Connell check out our YouTube channel. Keep checking back for more videos from Roco Rescue.

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Roco QUICK DRILL #1 - First 10 Minutes on the Scene

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Introducing Roco Quick Drills...     
NEVER MISS A PRACTICE OPPORTUNITY!
We want you to make the most of every rescue practice session, so our Roco instructors have created "Quick Drills" that can be used any time you have a few minutes to practice with your team. In order to have a well-rounded rescue team, it is so important to maximize your training time and rotate the skills practiced to keep everyone interested and involved. Make sure you cover the basics as well as any techniques or special needs that may be unique to your response area. As always, practice, practice, practice! And, make sure you have the proper training and equipment to safely and effectively do your job.

First 10 Minutes on the Scene

During a rescue, there are opportunities when a team may be able to increase their efficiency and reduce their times significantly. One of those times is “arrival at the scene” to “hands on the patient.” This is the critical time when a plan is developed, equipment is set-up, and a rescuer is safely inserted to reach the patient.

  1. Pick a number of locations to perform confined space or high angle rescue scenarios. Keep the scenarios simple at first! 
  2. Have your team work with their equipment as it is currently stored and set-up for response.
  3. Give team members the scenario and have them start. At the 10-minute mark, stop the scenario. Document how much of the scenario the team was able to complete in 10 minutes.
  4. Debrief the team, and then ask questions such as, “What could you have done differently in your particular assignment to advance the team’s progress in this scenario in a shorter period of time?”    
  5. Evaluate the type of rigging used and the sequence in which it was performed. For example, were systems rigged in the order that they will be needed? Or, was time wasted on rigging that would not be needed until extraction of the patient? Was the team waiting for a high-point or tripod to be set-up before rescuers were inserted?
  6. Could equipment have been staged differently? For example, was equipment for the main and safety lines pre-rigged in an accessible layout and in sufficient quantities - or did the team have to search for more gear?
  7. Use this information to rearrange the team's equipment as needed. Could you pre-rig more items like packaging and hauling systems?
  8. Make the changes and repeat the scenario to see what works and what doesn't. Document how much was accomplished each time the scenario is repeated. After two or three repetitions, you should be able to hone the team's equipment requirements and reduce times.
  9. Next, move to a new scenario and repeat the process. Each time documenting the progress made and what was changed to improve performance.
  10. Be sure to document all input and changes agreed upon. Make sure these changes and improvements are incorporated in your team's operational planning.


Remember, the overall goal is to get a rescuer to the patient in a timelier manner while maintaining safety and efficiency. After streamlining the basic scenarios, you can incorporate more complex operations, such as adding SAR or other PPE requirements. With continued practice, you will see an improvement in how your team operates in the all-important first 10 minutes on scene!

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Register NOW for Roco's Fast-Track 80™ ProBoard/IFSAC Course!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Sign up now for Roco's first ProBoard course, Fast-Track 80™ . The course will be held on February 20-22 & 24-28, 2014 at the Roco Training Facility (RTC) in Baton Rouge, LA. There is an additional charge of $100.00 per student, and advance registration is required. Call us at (800) 647-7626 to register and reserve spaces or get more information.

This year Roco has a ProBoard/IFSAC option for select Roco courses conducted by the Carrol L. Herring Fire & Emergency Training Institute at the RTC in Baton Rouge. Students choosing the ProBoard option will complete both a written and skills exam. Upon successful completion of this certification process, they are then eligible to be entered into the ProBoard’s certification registry.

The ProBoard is an internationally recognized professional organization that represents the fire service and related emergency response fields. The ProBoard accredits organizations, such as Carrol L. Herring Fire & Emergency Training Institute, that provide certification testing to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) professional qualification standards. The International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) is a peer driven, self-governing system that accredits both public fire service certification programs and higher education fire-related degree programs.

 

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