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Rescue workers to conduct training exercises

By:  Star Beacon

ASHTABULA - - The Ashtabula Fire Department in conjunction with the Ashtabula Township Fire Department will conduct refresher training on confined space rescue Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Federal regulations carefully define confined spaces, and may include tanks, pipes, manholes and other vessels. In addition to having limited access, they may contain other hazards and present a significant risk to persons who enter them.

Rescuing victims trapped in confined spaces is a dangerous, highly technical evolution that is both labor and equipment intensive. In an effort to maintain high levels of proficiency in this task, AFD conducts annual training that consists of a classroom review and practical skills review. The capstone of the training is the rescue of a simulated victim from the department's confined space training prop.

The confined space-training prop is combination of an elevated platform next to large tank with a manhole on the top about 20 feet in the air. Newly added this year is a concrete sewer box connected to the bottom manhole of the tank via a two-foot diameter pipe. These revisions give class instructors more options to create challenging scenarios that can simulate above either the ground, or sub-terrain in rescue scenarios. AFD is grateful to Union Industrial Contractors and McGill Septic Tank for donating the material to make the changes to the training prop.

Federal regulations require employers who spend employees into confined spaces to follow specific procedures that include planning for emergencies that may occur inside the confined space.

Since confined space rescue is very technical and not all fire departments are capable of effecting a rescue, federal regulations also require that employers evaluate the capabilities of their designated emergency responders to insure they have the knowledge, skills and equipment needed to perform a rescue.

For the second year, representatives from local industries who have confined spaces will be on hand to observe the process and evaluate the capabilities of the AFD and Ashtabula Township Fire Department.

For information, call AFD Chief Ron Pristera at (440) 992-7186.

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