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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 techpanel@rocorescue.com. Help us keep the numbers climbing in 2011 and stay in the loop!
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Industrial Rescue I/II…Practical Skills, Industrial Focus

Monday, January 03, 2011

New for 2011! Practical skills training with a focus on compliance, but without the certification testing.

We’ve had many requests for a course that provides the skills, techniques and problem-solving scenarios for industrial rescue without the NFPA certification testing. Focusing on OSHA compliance, Roco’s new Industrial Rescue I/II will prepare rescuers and rescue teams for industrial confined space and elevated rescue as well as “rescue from fall protection.” Here’s more…

INDUSTRIAL RESCUE I/II (50 Hours)

This course offers a very practical, hands-on approach to industrial rescue that will provide the skills necessary to meet OSHA compliance guidelines for a competent rescue team or rescue team member.

Participants will be taught safe, simple and proven techniques that will allow them to effectively perform confined space and elevated rescues from towers, tanks, vessels and other industrial structures. Rescues from simulated IDLH atmospheres requiring the use of Supplied Air Respirators and SCBA will also be practiced. This course is designed for all rescuers, both industrial and municipal, who may be required to handle confined space rescues in industrial settings. It also includes Rescue from Fall Protection (rescue of suspended workers) as well as OSHA Authorized Entrant, Attendant and Supervisor training.

The problem-solving scenarios can be used to document annual practice requirements in representative spaces as required by OSHA 1910.146 and as referenced in NFPA 1006. For training conducted at Roco’s training facility, scenarios will be completed in all six (6) types of confined spaces. At other sites, the number of types completed will depend on the availability of practice spaces.

OSHA 1910.146(k)(2)(iv)
Ensure that affected employees practice making permit space rescues at least once every 12 months, by means of simulated rescue operations in which they remove dummies, manikins, or actual persons from the actual permit spaces or from representative permit spaces. Representative permit spaces shall, with respect to opening size, configuration, and accessibility, simulate the types of permit spaces from which rescue is to be performed.

NFPA 1006 A.3.3.38 Confined Space Type
Figure A.3.3.38* shows predefined types of confined spaces normally found in an industrial setting. Classifying spaces by “types” can be used to prepare a rescue training plan to include representative permit spaces for simulated rescue practice as specified by OSHA. (*Roco Confined Space Types Chart)
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What does it mean when my atmospheric monitor gives negative or minus readings?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

At some point, most atmospheric monitors will display a “negative” or minus reading for a flammable gas or toxic contaminant. First of all, it is not actually possible for an atmosphere to contain a “negative amount” of a substance. These negative readings usually result from improper use of the monitor.

Most monitors will “Field Zero” or “Fresh Air Calibrate” its sensors when powered on. Because of this, it is very important to power on the unit in a clean, fresh air environment away from confined spaces, running equipment or other possible contaminants. Otherwise, the monitor may falsely calibrate based on the contaminant that is present.For example, a monitor that is powered on in an atmosphere that contains 10 ppm of a contaminant and then moved to fresh air may display a reading of minus 10 ppm. Even more troublesome, if that same monitor is then brought to a confined space that actually contains 25 ppm of the contaminant, it may display a reading of only 15 ppm. As you can see, this could easily lead to the improper selection of PPE for the entrant and result in a confined space emergency.

As always, it is very important to consult with the manufacturer of your particular atmospheric monitor in order to determine how to use it properly. Don’t take any chances with this critical part of preparing for confined space entry or rescue operations.
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CMC founder Jim Frank shares some insights

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

During a recent visit out to California to work on a new and improved Roco/CMC harness, we had the opportunity to visit with Mr. Jim Frank, Founder and Chairman of CMC Rescue.

For 34 years, Jim has been active with the Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue Team. In 1978, he founded CMC Rescue to provide quality equipment for rescuers. His pioneering efforts in technical rescue have had a substantial influence on the evolution of the products and techniques used today. He currently serves on the NFPA Technical Rescue Committee, the NFPA Technical Committee on Special Operations Clothing & Equipment, the ANSI/ASSE Z359 Committee on Fall Protection, the ASTM F32 Committee on Search & Rescue, and the SPRAT Safe Practices for Rope Access Work Committee. We asked Jim to share some insight with us… particularly on his experience and involvement with the NFPA Technical Rescue Committee over the years.

Have NFPA standards had the positive impact they were supposed to have?
In our many conversations with end users, we find that the standards are still not clearly understood. Manufacturing standards such as NFPA 1983 increase the ability for the user to make intelligent decisions between various products. I’m also told that they provide the ability for departments to buy with grant money since it is a nationally recognized standard. User standards such as 1006 and 1670 provide a great framework for the knowledge needed to perform rescues. However, they do not necessarily equate to the competence and experience needed to safely and effectively perform a rescue.

NFPA 1983 concerning Rescue Equipment has been updated/changed over the years. Do you think it’s where it needs to be at this time?
Standard 1983 is continuing to grow in coverage and address a wider scope of products used in rescue. We’re now talking about adding litters and patient extrication devices where in the past it was limited to protective equipment for the firefighter or rescuer. However, the effectiveness of 1983 is completely dependent on the consumer making the decision to select “certified” products instead of accepting a product claiming to “meet or exceed” the standard or choosing a non-certified product.

Do you think the NFPA needs to consider adding professional qualifications for emergency escape for firefighters?
In general, no. While training is essential, access to emergency egress should be available the first day on the job. It could possibly be included as part of NFPA 1001 Standard for Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen in rescue over recent years?

An expansion in the number of agencies getting into rescue and a growing interest in developing rescue capabilities in other countries where it has not been a tradition. In the area of equipment…lower stretch ropes, lighter hardware with better performance figures, mechanical belay devices like the Petzl ASAP, Traverse 540, and the CMC MPD. There’s also been some trend toward full-body harnesses. From a business standpoint, there has been an increase of even more off-shore products that are competing on price rather than quality and performance.

If you had to give one piece of advice to rescuers, what would it be?

Continue to hone your professional skills with up-to-date training and regular practice. The rescue technician’s skills are still the most important ingredient in a successful rescue.
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Is there a regulation requiring rescuers to use respiratory protection that is “one level higher” than that required for the entrants?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

To our knowledge, there is no regulatory requirement. However, we’ve heard this before and have used it as well when stressing the importance of proper PPE for rescuers, particularly when IDLH atmospheres may be involved. Here’s our thinking… if the entrant’s PPE did not provide adequate protection and he or she is now requiring rescue assistance, then using their “same level of protection” isn’t going to protect you either!

What triggers the use of a greater level of protection? This comes from the rescuer’s assessment of the hazards – including the use of an independent atmospheric monitor from that used by the entrant(s). That’s why it’s so important for the rescue team to provide their own atmospheric monitoring equipment. It also illustrates why written rescue preplans are so important – you need to preplan what equipment and techniques will be required well in advance of an emergency. It’s critical; the PPE selected must be adequate to protect the rescuers.

When preparing rescue preplans, you must also take into consideration any unusual hazards or circumstances that may arise from any work being done inside or near the space. For example, special cleaning solvents might be used or other hazards may be introduced into the space by the workers. Referencing and understanding the MSDS as well as “listening to what your monitor is telling you” are key factors in PPE determination.

OSHA does mention, however, if the atmospheric condition is unknown, then it should be considered IDLH and the use of positive pressure SCBA/SAR must be used. This will protect you from low O2 levels and other inhalation dangers; however, you must also consider LEL/LFL levels. Other factors include non-atmospheric conditions as well. For example, have you considered “skin absorption” hazards and what precautions must be taken?

So, the bottom line, the decision to go with breathing air for rescuers can be determined from your hazard assessment; or, in some cases, by company policy; and even required by OSHA when there’s an unknown atmosphere involved. Remember, it’s much better to be safe than sorry!
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RescueTalk (RocoRescue.com) has been created as a free resource for sharing insightful information, news, views and commentary for our students and others who are interested in technical rope rescue. Therefore, we make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information and are not liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. Users and readers are 100% responsible for their own actions in every situation. Information presented on this website in no way replaces proper training!