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Why does my trusty old Petzl ID allow rope to continue feeding during a lower or rappel even after I have locked it off in work positioning mode?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The answer may be in the description “trusty old”. The ID has a wear indicator cast into the friction bobbin. It is located at the top of the bobbin on the side of the bobbin that the swinging side plate is on. When in usable condition the wear indicator is visible as a slightly raised ridge about a half-inch long. If the wear indicator is not visible the bobbin is worn out and the ID needs to be taken out of service.

 Smart answer courtesy of Pat Furr

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Tim Robson, Chief Instructor/NM Site Manager

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tim Robson joined Roco full-time in 1996 after working as a professional firefighter and a member of the Heavy Rescue Team for the Albuquerque Fire Department. As a Chief Instructor for Roco, Tim teaches a variety of emergency response courses and has been instrumental in the development of our Trench & Structural Collapse Rescue programs. In addition to teaching, Tim leads our on-site rescue and safety services at Intel where he specializes in multi-tasking, from rescue stand-bys to confined space program management to leading safety meetings and the list goes on. Tim is also responsible for coordinating other Roco Stand-by jobs in this region.

Tim hails from Mandeville, Jamaica where the tropical heat prepped him for his current climate in New Mexico where he lives today. Tim spent 6 years with the United States Marine Corp, where he specialized as a Rescue Diver/ Rescue Swimmer. After his time in the military, he joined the Albuquerque Fire Department and served as a Rescue Squad Officer for FEMA’s New Mexico Task Force 1. Tim has participated in four deployments for FEMA, including the Pentagon following the Sept. 11th attacks. While at the Pentagon, Tim led a Rescue Squad whose charter included victim recovery, debris removal, and the shoring of the remaining, unstable structure. It was on this mission that Tim developed a new shoring system that was later adopted by trench and shoring pros within the organization (FEMA).

His inspiration for becoming a rescue professional?
It all started with his time in the good ol’ USMC. What kept him interested was the diversity – he trained as a Plane Captain, Power-plants Mechanic, and Combat Water Survival Specialist Instructor. Teaching others became an essential part of his skill set. During his service he was deployed to Egypt, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, the Mediterranean, Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. And he still liked being an instructor!

His best advice for the novice?
“Fast is slow, smooth is fast. No emergency is worth you not going home!”

What does he do for fun?
Tim says he likes to run, bike and play golf to unwind and release a little stress. He also enjoys time with his family.
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OSHA Sites Company Following Trench Death

Friday, August 13, 2010

Driving around your town, how many times have you seen workers in a trench working totally unprotected?  As an emergency responder, are you aware of the imminent dangers around these trenches and do you know how to protect yourself should you respond to one of these incidents?

Trenches can collapse without warning entrapping and surrounding a victim in seconds – making it impossible to breath. Most trench cave-ins occur in good weather, and it has been  reported that up to 70% of fatalities occur in trenches less than 12 ft deep and less than 6 ft wide. Failed trenches have a 100% chance of secondary collapse…it’s just a matter of time.

Just a few things to think about…
  • 1 cubic yard of dirt moving 6 ft will reach an impact force equal to 45mph.
  • 2-feet of soil on a person’s chest will create 700-1,000 lbs of pressure.
  • 18-inches of soil covering a body exerts up to 1,800 to 3,000 lbs of pressure.
Here’s a recent fatality that occurred when workers were installing storm drains in Alamo, Texas.

OSHA has cited M&G Equipment Group Ltd., doing business as M Construction, with two alleged willful and six alleged serious violations following the death of an employee in March 2010 who was working in a trench installing a storm drainage system. “A company’s failure to protect its workers from cave-ins is simply unacceptable,” said Michael Rivera, OSHA’s area director in Corpus Christi, Texas. “If OSHA’s standards regarding proper trench sloping, shoring and shielding were followed, it is possible this tragedy could have been avoided.”

Serious citations were issued for failure to provide workers with safe egress when working in a trench, keep excavated soil a safe distance from a trench, use a properly designed trench shield, and ensure workers are trained on excavation hazards. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Proposed penalties total $53,550. OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available on OSHA’s Web site.
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Confined Space Attendants – More than just a “Hole-Watch”

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Whenever I go out into the field for a rescue stand-by job, I always take note of the attendant.  I will always talk to them in order to try and gauge this person’s level of knowledge about confined spaces in general as well as the particular entry that is being made.  Unfortunately, more often than not, I discover that this worker has very little experience or very little training in confined spaces.  Most of these workers tend to be the “low-man” on the work crew and seem to just be “thrown” in to that position.  A lot of the facilities and contractors seem to have the attitude that anyone can be the “hole-watch.”  This can be the major ingredient in a recipe for disaster.

When OSHA created the Confined Space Regulation (29 CFR 1910.146) they included a list of the “roles and responsibilities” of the Entrant, Attendant and Entry Supervisor.  A cursory glance at the responsibilities of the attendant paints a picture of someone who is acutely tied to the overall safety of the operation.

These are some of the highlights of the attendant’s duties:

    - Know the hazards that may be faced during the entry, as well as the effects of those hazards
    - Monitor conditions inside and outside of the space
    - Call for the evacuation of the space in the event of an emergency or the detection of a prohibited condition

When you look closely at these duties, you’ll see that this is a lot more than just some “body” standing outside of the space.  For example, in order to monitor the conditions inside a space, most attendants are handed a two- or four-gas air monitor and sent out to the space to “sniff” the air inside.  The untrained or inexperienced “hole-watch” will likely not be aware of the numerous things that can affect the atmospheric testing results. Things such as the techniques used to calibrate the monitor, or the oxygen content of the air, or the concentration of certain gases can all skew the readings of a monitor.  I have also seen, on at least two occasions, a ventilation fan being placed within a few feet of a bank of gas-powered welding machines.  In one case, the carbon monoxide readings inside the space reached a high enough level to actually set off the alarms on the atmospheric monitor.  These are things that unqualified workers are simply not going to know about.

Not only do the attendants out in the workforce need to be better trained, they also should be brought into the planning phase of the entry operation.  The attendant should attend pre-job meetings as well as assist in the process of making the space safe for entry.  In one entry that I witnessed about 10 years ago, a very well qualified attendant was present.  The entry was into an underground vault that housed a large water main.  The entrants were installing a new valve into the system.  Because the attendant had helped shut down and isolate the space, he was familiar with the system in general.  Once the repairs to the valve were completed, a call was made to re-pressurize the line in order to make sure there were no leaks present.  The attendant ordered the entrants to exit the space while the pipe was brought up to pressure.  The entrants argued that they needed to be there to tighten up any leaks that might develop, but the attendant was adamant that they leave the space.  As the pressure in the line climbed higher, it ruptured and the entire vault filled with water in about 30 seconds.  It happened so fast that no amount of pre-rigging for rescue would have saved the two entrants.

A well-qualified attendant can have a definite impact on the entire project.  It is unfortunate that many times they are looked at as just some person standing outside the space – instead of a key component in the overall safety of the entry operation.

Author:
Bryan Rogers
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