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Dennis O’Connell, Director of Training/Chief Instructor

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Since 1989, Dennis O’Connell has been a technical rescue consultant and professional instructor for Roco. In 2002, he joined the company full-time and is now the Director of Training and a Chief Instructor.

As Director of Training, O’Connell heads up Roco’s technical rescue programs and is responsible for curriculum development, instructor training and much more. As a Chief Instructor, he teaches Confined Space, High Angle, Trench, Structural Collapse, and Instructor Development courses. “Training-the-trainer” is one of the many skills O’Connell cultivated during his 20-year tenure with the New York Police Department (NYPD).

Sgt. O’Connell received 14 commendations and citations as a career officer and was selected to serve on the NYPD Emergency Services Unit (ESU) for 17 years. Besides responding to over 100,000 assignments each year, this elite group served as a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit for America’s iconic city–responding to high-risk situations and providing rescue operations for transportation accidents, building collapses, hazardous materials incidents, water rescue, confined space and high-angle incidents, helicopter operations (high-rise Medevac), and disorder control.

As a member of ESU, he was extensively involved in rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center from Day One. As a hand-selected member of FEMA’s New York Task Force #1, Sgt. O’Connell responded to major disasters in Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. With his broad teaching experience and expertise in real-world rescue, O’Connell is a man others want to learn from.

His inspiration for becoming a rescue professional?
As a young man, O’Connell was involved in an automobile crash with fatal injuries to one of his best friends. At that moment, he vowed to learn the proper techniques of lifesaving, rescue, and emergency response. Mission accomplished.

His best advice for the novice?
Know your equipment like the back of your hand… literally. You have to protect yourself before you can help others.

What does he do for fun?
Almost anything that presents a challenge! Here we see him sporting ‘Cajun Reeboks’ for a little recreational trip down the bayou. Only the best equipment for the job will do for Dennis!
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McKenney’s Fan

Monday, May 03, 2010
Thank you for the well organized class that was packed with information. I say packed, but the instructors (Mike A., Tim R. & Chris ) presented the material in “small bites’ so that it was easily digested. As I have already told the instructors, I started the course not knowing what to expect and ended the week realizing that my “rope rescuing” journey has just begun and I have a lot of work to do.

Thanks,
Jeff Schnaak
Safety Coordinator 
McKenney’s Inc. one of Atlanta’s “Best Places to Work” in 2009.

(published from email to Roco)

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Useful in Haiti

Monday, May 03, 2010

“Please pass a copy of this attached letter to Ish Antonio and Josh. My team and myself used the training that they taught us in confined space/collapsed structure and rope rescue in our recent deployment to Haiti. Their instruction and scenarios they set up in their course helped more than I can say."

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What’s New with NFPA 1006?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Some subtle and not so subtle changes to NFPA 1006 are included in the most current edition. The 2008 edition is now titled “Standard for Technical Rescuer Professional Qualifications”. Today we’ll address some of the changes that have been made to Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 “Job Performance Requirements” which some folks call “core” requirements. We will also cover some of the changes to the Rope Rescue and Confined Space Rescue specialty areas.

Chapter 4, Technical Rescuer

As in the past, a technical rescuer must perform all of the job performance requirements of chapter 5, and at least one of the technician levels of at least one specialty area. This is analogous to the core plus one concept of previous additions. The change has to do with the new technician levels. For each specialty area there are two levels of qualification.

Level I:  An individual who can identify hazards, use equipment, and can apply limited techniques as identified in this standard.

Level II:   An individual who can identify hazards, use equipment, and can apply advanced techniques as identified in this standard.

As an example, an individual could be a level II technician for Confined Space Rescue and a Level I technician for Cave Rescue.

Chapter 5, Job Performance Requirements

A recurring theme first shows up in chapter 5, and it has to do with including specific criteria in terms of distance traveled or minimum height of certain operations.  For example, paragraph 5.5.5 and 5.5.6 have to do with directing a mechanical advantage team in the movement of a load.  The minimum distance of load travel is 3 meters, or 10 feet for those of us who struggle with metric conversion.  In addition, it is required to perform this in both a low angle (5.5.5) and high angle (5.5.6) environment.

Paragraph 5.5.7 now requires the performance as a litter tender in a low angle environment for a load haul or lower distance of 6.1 meters (20 feet).

It is now required to direct a lower in both a low angle environment (5.5.9) and a high angle environment (5.5.10), with a minimum load travel distance of 3 meters.

Paragraphs 5.5.12 requires the operation of a belay during a haul or lower of 10 feet in a high angle environment and 5.5.13 requires the belay of a falling load in a high angle environment.

Chapter 6, Rope Rescue Specialty Area

The Specialty areas include knowledge and performance criteria for Level I Technicians, and additional criteria for Level II Technicians.

Here are some of the changes and additions for level I Technicians

Paragraph 6.1.4 now specifies the compound mechanical advantage operation must be directed in a high angle environment with a load haul distance of at least 6.1 meters or 20 feet.

This next one may be the most significant for some of us.  Paragraph 6.1.5 now requires a minimum rope ascent distance of 20 feet in a high angle environment.

The descent of a fixed rope now specifies that it is to be performed in a high angle environment with a travel distance of at least 6.1 meters.

Level II Rope Rescue Technicians must perform all the Level I requirements and the following additional requirements.

Paragraph 6.2.1 requires the completion of an assignment while suspended from a rope rescue system in a high angle environment at a height of at least 20 feet.

6.2.2 requires the movement of a victim in a high angle environment at least 6.1 meters.

A couple of significant additions include the requirements to perform as a litter tender during a haul or lower in a high angle environment over a minimum 20 foot distance which is outlined in 6.2.3.   And to direct a team in the removal of a victim suspended from rope or webbing in a high angle environment (6.2.4).

Directing a team in the construction and operation of a highline system requires a minimum span of 20 feet.

Chapter 7, Confined Space Rescue Specialty Area

There are only a couple minor changes to this chapter.  First off it is now Chapter 7.  The only other significant changes are the pre-plan and assessment of a confined space incident and the control of hazards is a Level II requirement only.

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