Our state-of-the-art training center is a world-class facility for hands-on, technical rescue training.It is designed to simulate a wide array of scenarios and configurations. From confined space to high angle, towers to trench, structural collapse to fall protection, the Roco Training Center enables industrial responders, firefighters, tactical units and other technical rescue teams to learn and practice technical rescue scenarios they may encounter in an industrial or manufacturing environment.
Described as a “living, breathing entity” by Chief Instructor Eddie Chapa, the training center is continually modified to provide new and returning rescuers with unique training experiences year after year. The complex includes a 5-story “prop,” a courtyard and tower, three classrooms and three acres of field space.
Constructed of heavy metal shipping containers, the 32,000 cubic foot, five-story “prop” simulates all six types of confined spaces outlined in OSHA standard 1910.146, Permit-Required Confined Spaces. Here, rescue teams can meet their minimum annual practice requirements in all six confined space types in a safe and controlled learning environment.
At the center of the prop is a courtyard and tower, which allows trainees to practice tower work and rescue, high angle rescue, and the latest fall protection techniques. Within our three classrooms, our highly-regarded instructors teach the skills and techniques that trainees will then demonstrate on the prop. The training center also features numerous field stations where we conduct trench/excavation training, as well as vehicle extrication and building collapse courses.
The “drop test” prop and the ball pit are two stations that trainees particularly enjoy. The drop test (or belay) prop teaches students how to properly catch a falling load. It uses a safety line system with a 540 belay and a Munter hitch. “The students have never seen anything like it,” says Roco Rescue Chief Instructor Mike Adams. “They tell me, ‘I’ve run a Munter hitch all my adult life and never knew it reacted like this!’” The ball pit simulates a grain elevator. The team has to rescue a victim, who is halfway buried in the ball pit, without stepping on the ‘grain,’ as this will cause the victim to slip down further.
Because the Roco Training Center is a “living, breathing entity,” returning teams can expect different scenarios each time they attend training. We make continual modifications to the prop based on the needs of our clientele. This may involve moving an entry to a different space; or vertical, instead of horizontal, for example. With recent additions such as a cold box simulator, an agitator, and a pipe rack, the prop is constantly altered and improved to offer fresh training scenarios that are relevant to the students who train with us.
Training options include open-enrollment courses conducted regularly at the Roco Training Center, as well as privately scheduled training based on a client’s specific needs. Click here for more information on our courses.
“It’s an outstanding opportunity, really, for rescuers to train in a realistic environment that’s controlled for safety and training efficiency.”
“Refresher training is designed to knock the rust off. We try to throw the worst-case situations at our returning rescue teams, because if you can do the worst cases, then you can do the easy rescues.”
The Roco Training Center is also home to the annual Roco Rescue Challenge. Most scenarios put before the teams have been a real incident at a facility somewhere.
As unique as it is, the Roco Training Center isn’t what sets us apart; our people do. Chief Instructor Mike Adams says, “We take our responsibility to teach safety very seriously, and part of that is asking for feedback. Our clients regularly tell us on course evaluations that their class was ‘the best training we’ve ever had.’ It’s overwhelming and gratifying to hear, but we’re just doing our job.”
“None of us considers ourselves ‘experts,’” adds Adams. “We’re just ourselves and we get on the students’ level and we teach them. Because of that, the atmosphere is relaxed. The guys tend to have more fun when they’re relaxed and they’re learning too. That’s what they tell us.”
What’s more, our company has never had a significant injury to a student in the more than 37 years that we have been in business. In 2013, we were honored to receive the OSHA VPP Star Worksite designation for excellence in safety.
Safety is always top of mind, as one might expect from a company whose motto is, “There’s a safe way and a SAFER way!”