Firefighters must be ready to battle blazes in confined spaces

Firefighters must be ready to battle blazes in confined spaces

Firefighters must be ready to battle blazes in confined spaces

Most firefighters would probably agree that there is no such thing as an ideal blaze to contend with. Whether they are dousing flames in a burning home or a tunnel, there is always a chance conditions could take a turn for the deadly. Confined spaces are especially dangerous settings for fires, which is why fire rescue training focused on these types of situations are so essential.

Fortunately, many decision-makers at fire departments across the nation realize their crews cannot predict when they will have to respond to a blaze in a tight space. For this reason, they are providing these professionals with opportunities to receive this type of firefighter training before it is too late. Here are examples of just two types of drills departments recently organized:

Massachusetts training session highlights the dangers of tight spots
Many locations are considered to be confined for good reason. A manhole, for instance, is tight, but also not meant to be occupied, Richard Hartman, the lead instructor for a recent training program, told The Daily Voice’s website for Holden, Massachusetts. The drills Hartman was overseeing brought firefighters from Holden out to a sewage treatment plant where they ran through several scenarios. In one instance, rescue workers had to descend down a shaft in order to save the lives of two individuals who had passed out from exposure to hydrogen sulfide.

Hartman said that atmospheric hazards are firefighters’ top concern when working in confined spaces. As a result, they need to know how to check for hazardous materials and pull off a successful rope rescue, all while wearing the appropriate breathing apparatuses.

Texas firefighters venture into the trench
Another setting firefighters may find it hard to maneuver in is a trench that has collapsed on itself. Rescuing one or more people who have become the victims of trench incidents is no easy task. In fact, the Weatherford Democrat reported that a rescue can take anywhere from six to 12 hours in the typical scenario.

To ensure they know what to do if ever faced with an accident in a trench, firefighters from different departments in Parker County, Texas, recently completed several days of rescue training. Firefighters who participated grabbed shovels, ropes and specialized equipment to learn how to conduct a proper trench rescue. Each of the firefighters involved in these training exercises had at least three to four years of professional experience.


All in a Day’s Work: Firefighters Use Giant Vacuums and Rescue Bears

Fire Rescue Training Keeps Teams on Top of the Most Bizarre Calls

Most fire rescue officials advocate for continued fire rescue training to prepare for all kinds of emergencies.

Firefighters must be prepared for practically any rescue scenario, requiring an expanse of firefighter survival training and all the necessary tools. There’s no disputing it: departments that stay on top of new information and new techniques are better equipped to save lives. For instance, every three months the Sioux Falls Fire Rescue in South Dakota holds urban search and fire rescue training.

In fact, the department just added a somewhat odd rescue tool for rare but dangerous situations. You might identify the new piece of equipment as a dirt devil—yes, similar to the one sitting in your closet. Sioux Falls firefighters know it as the giant vacuum that helps with water and trench rescues.

Fire Apparatus operator Clint Deboer lobbied for the tool to improve efficiency and put rescue personnel and victims in less danger. By not having to use picks and shovels to remove dirt, thus spending less time immersed in the trench, people can be saved sooner. The Sioux Falls department joined forces with the Water Reclamation team to acquire the tool, and get regular rescue specialist training for events like trench cases.

In honor of last week’s National EMS Week, Eastside Fire and Rescue’s EMS training coordinator, Elenjo Schaff, offered heavy praise for another essential kind of training—firefighter safety training and new EMS life-saving techniques. As training coordinator and member of the King County Fire Training Officers Association in Washington State, she is adamant that firefighters must constantly maintain EMS skills, firefighter forcible entry training, and other specialized education. Schaff says it’s “just part of the mission that firefighters in our department agreed to perform when they chose this profession.” That’s not the only presumed aspect of the firefighter profession.

Fire rescue teams get odd calls. Continued training and giant vacuums may not be part of the job description, but it’s implied. The Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue team in Colorado had to rescue an unusual troublemaker, a young black bear. After romping through a trashcan and leisurely climbing a tree to hang out, locals became increasingly worried about a nearby school that was about to let out. Neighbors called the police department, wildlife experts tranquilized the bear, and the rascal still didn’t fall from the tree.

In comes Steamboat firefighters, who tied a rope to the bear’s leg, lowered it, and then caught the bear with a tarp before he hit the ground. Did they train for that? Probably not. But they handled it. From saving bears to rescuing people from trapped caves, ravines, and buildings, firefighters need constant training to respond to most unusual calls.

Who else are you going to call?

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