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Confined Space Rescue
Roseville's Confined Space Facility

by: Kent Freeman

In May 1996, Roseville Fire Department opened its state of the art Confined Space Rescue training center. The center is just one component of the 3.5 million dollar Fire Training facility that makes quality fire and rescue training a reality in the southern Placer county area.

The Confined Space Rescue facility has been certified by State Fire Training and is designed to provide the most realistic training possible for fire service personnel and industrial rescue team members. It provides students an environment to perform rescues in various props that simulate or duplicate those that they may be expected to respond to. The facility allows live rescues to be performed in a controlled low risk environment.

The Props

The facility includes all of the props required by State Fire Training for certification, plus additional props to provide a challenge for even the more advanced rescue team members. Included in the facility is a fifty one hundred gallon upright tank with top and horizontal man-ways and pipe tree. This prop is used in numerous ways to simulate a full array of industrial applications including lock-out/block-out procedures. An in pipe rescue prop is provided to simulate rescues in horizontal pipe-ways. An above ground grain hopper with a top man-way and tapered bottom cross-section is provided to simulate rescues in a grain or bottom dump environment. Multiple below grade vaults connected underground by pipes duplicate the numerous below grade vaults that every jurisdiction must deal with. A railroad tank car with three top man-ways and catwalk is provided to perform rescues in, and an MC 306 gasoline tanker is used for ladder A frame and ladder gin applications. In addition to the props provided at the facility the faculty will commonly use sites throughout Roseville to test the mettle of students. Sites include a sixty foot deep storm water lift station which includes a twenty-five foot horizontal shaft under the roadway, as well as sewage lift stations and industrial sites throughout the city.

The Equipment

Roseville Fire Department and the faculty of the Confined Space Rescue program pride themselves in giving the students an opportunity to use a large array of the equipment available for confined space rescue. Manufacturers of equipment are always looking for a way to market and test their equipment. We give the manufacturers a forum to do both, in turn we are able to provide our students with the opportunity to use some cutting edge equipment. Students finish the class knowing what equipment will work in the specific applications they may face when they return home.

Students provide their own personal protective equipment, but all other equipment is provided in class. Equipment inventories include atmospheric monitors, ventilation equipment, respiratory protective equipment, including SCBA and umbilical air systems, communications equipment ranging from rope signals to hardwire communications, lock-out/block-out equipment, lowering and retrieval equipment, including tripods and winches, harnesses, SKED litters, LSP halfbacks, wristlets, etc. Also included is a complete rope and hardware inventory, ladders and lighting equipment.

The Curriculum

The curriculum being used is the State Fire Training Divisions Confined Space Rescue "Awareness" and Confined Space Rescue "Operational" programs. These programs have been reviewed by the usual State Fire Boards as well as CAL-OSHA. Training that meets these guidelines will assure that you have received a standard level of instruction that will provide the documentation you want during a post incident investigation. Good Confined Space Rescue training is a well balanced blend of classroom didactics and hands on manipulative exercises. Our priority is for students to leave understanding the hazards of confined spaces, the equipment and techniques needed to perform confined space rescue, and the regulations affecting their operations. This curriculum and our program meet this objective. In addition it gives the student the ability to adapt to situations they may face within their own jurisdiction.

The Faculty

The best facility and curriculum is nothing unless you have quality instructors to present the information. The Confined Space Rescue program at Roseville Fire Department is instructed by a faculty that represents a cross-section of California's finest rescue instructors. With the Senior instructor being the author of the Confined Space Rescue "Awareness" program, a member of the curriculum development team for the Confined Space Rescue "Operations" program and coordinator of the Technical Rescue Team in Roseville. Other instructors include a U.S.A.R. coordinator from Santa Fe Springs Fire Department in Los Angeles County, a Captain and Senior Rescue Systems 1 instructor from the Manteca-Lathrop Fire District, and members of the Roseville Fire Department Technical Rescue Team.

The Objective

Without proper training confined space operations, and especially confined space rescue is a game of chance, NIOSH and OSHA studies reveal that hundreds of people have miscalculated their chance for survival in confined space operations. The objective for the student or rescuer is to recognize when the odds are stacked against them, and then to implement a change in the operation to increase the margin of safety, or stack the odds in their favor.

Our objective is to provide the student with the information on how to make legal and safe confined space entries and rescues, and provide them with realistic props and scenarios that make them stretch beyond what they may have previously considered their comfort zone. We believe strongly that without proper training attempting a confined space rescue would be betting on failure!

Kent Freeman is a 16 year veteran of the Fire Service. He currently serves as Captain and the coordinator to technical rescue services for Roseville Fire Department, Kent is the owner and principle instructor for a small company, California Health & Rescue Training, where he provides specialized rescue programs for Fire Departments and private industry throughout the Western United States. To contact Kent, pleae call 916-367-3770.

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