Confined Space Training – 4/14/2013

Sunday was scenario-based training in a live environment – Simulators and carefully scripted evolutions are all fine and good, but it’s hard to beat the value of a real problem in a real environment.

This was an old hand-dug well 25 feet deep.  “Old” is the key word here, since the well and the now-collapsed nearby house have been known to exist since the early 1900s.  Stable and solid, but still with all of the potential dangers – gases, creatures… and a ~1000-lb concrete slab that at sometime in the past had covered the well but now made it nothing but a dangerous trap.

The scenario was that little Timmy was down a well and had to be rescued, with “Timmy” being a dummy lowered into the well.  Presented with the scenario, the team broke it into two evolutions.  First, the slab had to be removed – it’s precarious position over the victim posed an imminent hazed to both our “victim” as well as any potential rescuer.  Second, the victim had to be rescued with minimum contact to the walls of the well lest anything be dislodged.

After forced-air ventilation was established, slab removal was accomplished using the same techniques we use for structural collapse: timber A-frame, mechanical advantage, and teamwork.  After securing the slab to the timber bipod, the bank over the slab was cleared so that it could be lifted.  Even with the inherent mechanical advantage of the A-frame, it took a stacked MA system to pull the slab out.

With the slab out of the way, victim removal was the focus.  The team chose to use the TerrAdaptor to construct a tripod.  A Z-drag using a CMC MPD as the anchor pulley was rigged for rescuer insertion and removal, with a backstay on the TerrAdaptor to assure that the horizontal load on the TerrAdaptor was offset.   Backup line and air line were run through a Kootenay Carriage.  Supplied air was used by all rescuers due to the depth of the well and the potential respiratory hazards that exist in a that environment.

Kirsten, Victor, Brian, and Christian all executed a pickup on the victim using a Hasty Hitch constructed from webbing.

Check out the pictures to see how it went – better yet, join us next time and learn how to add new options to your tool bag when the presentation is not out of a publisher’s handbook.