Friday, July 3

The Upland Fire Department

Technical Rescue

Technical Rescue Program

The Upland Fire Department is in the process of training it's members and purchasing specialized equipment that will allow fire personnel to enter confined spaces to rescue injured or trapped workers.

A confined space can be above ground or below ground and may contain an atmosphere that is explosive, toxic, or oxygen deficient. These spaces are typically found at industrial and municipal work sites. Some examples of typical confined spaces would be sewer and storm drain systems, above ground tanks, below ground vaults and trenches.

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (CalOSHA) has developed rules for how workers enter and work in confined spaces. These same rules also require that Fire Department personnel who enter confined spaces be adequately trained and provided with the proper equipment to perform rescues safely and in a timely manner.

The Technical Rescue Unit (Rescue 161) includes:

•Self-contained breathing air systems that provide fresh, uncontaminated breathing air to rescuers and victims.

•Full body rescue harnesses so rescuers can be lowered and raised into confined spaces.

•Tripod and stainless steel cable and winch for raising and lowering rescuers.

•Self-contained communication system so rescuers inside of a confined space can communicate with personnel outside of the space.

•Rescue rope and pulleys to remove victims from spaces or to lower victims from an elevated location to the ground.

•Special stretchers that are attached to a cable and then used to raise or lower a victim to safety.

•Instruments used to measure the air quality inside of a confined space for flammability, toxicity, and low oxygen.

The long term goal for the Technical Rescue Unit is to acquire training and equipment necessary to rescue injured or trapped victims from collapsed buildings that could occur during an earthquake or explosion; to rescue workers who have become trapped in a trench that has collapsed; and to rescue workers who are trapped or injured on elevated structures such as towers, poles, tanks, and machinery.