Well…it’s Carbon Monoxide (CO), so there isn’t a smell. But there is something interesting going on with the hose lines in this Supplied Air Breathing Apparatus system.
115 PPM of CO !
While scouring the internet for all things pertinent to Rescue work, our newest member, Jimbo H, found an interesting after action report from LA County. Apparently, two firefighters entered a tank using SCBA to make a rescue of a downed worker. After about 15 minutes the firefighters switched from SCBA to Supplied Air; 3 minutes after the switch is when things started going downhill for them. An attentive person working the communications kit noticed the firefighters breathing funny and started the process to get them out.
I’m not sure how they switched from SCBA to SABA. It’s possible they switched out their entire system while in the space, which seems like a bad idea. Or, they could have been using their SCBA and then just hooked up to their EBSS or URC from a remote source. If that were the case, the air from the remote source would seem to be the problem.
I’m not sure that the level of CO present in our hoses and in that small of a volume would cause the same problem as experienced in LA County, but it’s interesting to note that bad air can exist in the hoses.
We repost this every year on the anniversary of Mark Falkenhan’s death because we feel very strongly that we don’t want to lose the lesson about closing the door while searching. Mark’s death is a very graphic example of how much more tenable rooms can be by simply closing the door.
If you’ve not read about this LODD, please take a minute to read some of our thoughts on it as well as the NIOSH report. There are also several fire models done by the ATF that show how the fire progressed. One interesting note: A sharp eyed reader of this website noticed a PPV fan in one of the pictures while the fire was still going on. He had asked if that had any bearing on the rapid fire spread. After reaching out to the ATF agent who did the modeling, he replied that the fan was never turned on and thus had no bearing on the fire spread.
We want to thank you, the readers, for picking up on stuff like this as well as the ATF for responding so quickly and candidly.
A department in Oregon was on the news for a rescue they accomplished when they rescued a kid who fell 50′ down a cliff while trying to retrieve a cell phone (thank goodness for job security). In the video footage win the link below, you can briefly see the setup they used during the actual rescue. The Fire Chief also took the opportunity of the news interview to have his guys using an Arizona Vortex at ground level for some good public education. Nicely done!
Thank you to everybody for all of the interest! After filling up all of the spots in our first class in record time, we opened up a second class right after the first one. That class has now filled, too! Keep an eye out on the website for our upcoming classes. We will most likely have the next one in March. You can sign up for our mailing list in the column on the righthand side of the web page.
After many months and many requests, we are once again offering open enrollment for our popular Modern Technologies in Rope Rescue class. Come join us in Lancaster, PA on Oct 17 and 18 to learn how much more efficient your rescues can be with a few pieces of modern gear and a whole lot of practical applications learned from real world experiences. Here is your chance to keep up on the latest equipment and trends in the rope rescue world.
After filling up the Oct 17, 18 class in record 5 days (!!!) we have decided to run a second class the following 2 days. The registration is currently open for the Oct 19, 20 class. The link at the bottom of this page will register you for the second class.
Topics this time around include:
Use of the AZTEK kit to pass knots, perform a pickoff, basket attending, and a whole lot more.
In depth discussion and use of the Two Tension Rope System utilizing the MPD.
Use of the Arizona Vortex high directional in the urban environment.
The Rescue 2 Training original: The Appalachian Doortex! For urban anchoring and elevator rescue. High Directional? Anchor? Both!?… Come find out!
3 dimensional anchoring with the UFO.
The Skyhook capstan winch.
…And much more.
The cost of this two day, 16 hour class is $295 per person. Just bring a harness, helmet, and any ideas or equipment you would like to see used.
Please contact Kelly Byrne at 240-462-6610 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
The title of a “The Greatest Highline Ever” is being given to a group of people who probably knew very little about rope rescue as we know it and also probably wish they never had to set up this highline.
On May 11, 1945 an aircraft carrier called the USS Bunker Hill was near Okinawa, Japan supporting the invasion of Okinawa when it was struck by two kamikaze planes in quick succession. The ship was heavily damaged and the crew suffered massive casualties. 346 sailors and airmen were killed, 43 were lost at sea and never found, and 264 were wounded.
A light cruiser named the USS Wilkes Barre was one of several ships that came to the rescue. The Wilkes Barre was brought alongside Bunker Hill, with the Wilkes-Barre ’s bow placed hard against the Bunker Hill’s starboard quarter. The cruiser played 10 streams of water on the persistent fires, while 40 men, trapped astern in Bunker Hill scrambled to safety. Additionally, the injured were ferried to safety from one ship to another utilizing a highline. The title of “Greatest Highline Ever” goes to the “Greatest Generation”. Take a look at the pictures below and see if you agree. Additionally, take 3 minutes to watch the Youtube video below. There is some really compelling footage of the actual attack as well as some pretty gruesome pictures of the aftermath. Let’s not forget the sacrifice these guys made.
It seems that despite the lack of American popularity, the technique of the “Kickoff Pickoff” is pretty widely used throughout the rest of the world. Take the video below, sent to us by Will Paces from NIPSTA, as an example. It’s the latest in a line of this “unique” style of rescue that we have presented here. Looks like a fun drill to practice at work! I don’t think I’d want to be the victim though.
Judging by the results of the technique, it would appear that speed and power are a vital part of making the “Kickoff Pickoff” technique work properly. Witness what happens when you pussyfoot around with the technique (I’m not sure why I can’t get the video to embed, but it is definitely worth watching):
You may have heard of it as many different names, but if you want to learn practical, well researched information on suspension trauma than you have before, take an hour and watch the video below. In it, Dr. Roger Mortimer, gives his take on what is actually happening to people who are hanging in a harness and why he thinks they sometimes die because of it. I had the pleasure of seeing Dr Mortimer present this at the International Technical Rescue Symposium. He’s a great great presenter without any qualification. As a doctor explaining medical stuff to a lay crowd, he’s surely the best in the business. He’s also a cave rescue guy and has spent his share of time in a harness.
Someone who was left hanging:
The readers digest version of the big points:
– Death from hanging in a harness is caused by lack of victim movement, not the amount of time they are hanging. Have the victim move their legs if they are able.
– Tell the hospital the victim has rhabdomyolysis and to prepare to treat them for that. It will save a lot of time and confusion on both sides.
– It’s okay to lay the victim down after they have been removed from rope.
Here is a link to the paper published in the Wilderness Medical Society Journal:
Learning from others’ mistakes is something we can and should do, particularly when it pertains to rescue work. The situations below are prime examples of this. Take a minute to laugh a little at their misfortune (I’m pretty sure nobody died), but then try and absorb what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen to you.
The first example of things going bad could have been solved by a couple of easy solutions like: knowing how to tie a knot, having somebody who knows how to tie a knot look over your system, use a backup line that is tied with an appropriate knot, etc… There’s a trend there somewhere.
Knowing how your system is going to react when acted upon is a REALLY good skill to have when performing rope rescue operations. See if you can figure out what is going to happen in the video below when the helicopter pulls up to lift the rescue package:
Here at Rescue 2 Training we are pretty big fans of getting our rope systems up off of the ground for the edge transition. Combine a low rope over the edge with not knowing what your rope system is going to do when you load it (as mentioned above) and you have recipe for a bad time. Here is what the finished, face smashing product (and Bad Edge Transition Hall of Fame member) looks like when you pull it out of the oven:
I originally posted this over two years ago (HERE). Today is the fourth anniversary of FF Mark Falkenhan losing his life while searching above the fire. As a guy who searches above the fire pretty often while at work, the lessons to be learned from this tragedy cross my mind pretty frequently. There’s always lessons to be learned from a LODD, but this one hit close to home for me, both geographically and operationally.
While the title of this post might sound like a joke, it is a deadly serious fact that leaving a door open while searching a structure in fire conditions can lead a very bad ending, as we will see.
While at a fire recently in a two story single family dwelling,with fire on the second floor and searching the room across the hallway from the room on fire, I decided to shut the door behind me to search the bedroom. It’s not something I normally do, as we’re fortunate enough to have aggressive companies who get water on the fire quickly and trucks who aren’t afraid to open up; so the need does not usually arise. However, beating the first due engine in and with a report of people trapped, we made our way to the second floor.
After getting into the bedroom, my partner and I shut the door behind us. That’s a pretty nerve wracking thing to do: shut a door in a house you’ve never been in and can’t see a thing in. It’s easy to miss a doorknob on the wide expanse of wall when trying to make your way back out of that door. Anyhow, even though there was zero visibility and we were conducting our search on feel, it was a great comfort to feel the heat subside A LOT. It bought quite a bit of time on my mental search clock that lets me know when it is time to go. Thankfully, the engine was there quickly and we could hear them getting a knock on the fire.
The reason I mention this is that it really sunk in to me how much of the ongoing fire problem was eliminated for me just by shutting the door. So I started looking around at the importance of keeping doors shut while performing a search. Unfortunately I did not have to look far or in the distant past. My looking about took me to my old department, Baltimore County, to a fire that killed FF Mark Falkenhan on Jan 19, 2011 who died from injuries sustained while searching on the top floor of a 3 story garden apartment.
The fire started as a first floor kitchen fire and rapidly spread to the two upper floors, ultimately entering the unit where FF Falkenhan was searching though an open door to the unit.
Two units, two very different results. The difference is that the unit on the left had the door closed during the fire. This was a powerful picture for me.
If you’re short on time, go to the 21:45 mark of the video below. There are also two reports; one from the ATF and one from Baltimore County. Towards the end of the ATF report are the pictures of the conditions of different units from the fire.
The forward in the Balt. County internal report by the Fire Chief states that they essentially could have done nothing different and that everything went pretty much according to plan. This despite the fact that they:
Have only 3 Battalion Chiefs for a 612 square mile area. It took the Batt. Chief 23 minutes to arrive on scene.
Had no good report from the rear about vertical fire extension.
No engine crew covering the search operation.
No back up hose line for initial attack crew.
Companies split laying on a working fire.
NO RIT TEAM!!
It’s easy to be an armchair fireground analyst, but these are systemic things that have not changed since I worked there for a short time in the late 90’s.
Take a look at the video below. While performing a rescue, one rescuer was swept away by the moving water. You can see that the rescuer is not panicking and is following his training. He has his feet up, facing downstream and is on his back. After a couple of unsuccessful throw bag attempt he rolls over, faces up stream, gets a ferry angle and starts swimming towards the shore. When he sees a rescuer running along side of him with a throw bag, he gets ready, grabs the rope and is swung into the shore while the thrower assumes the correct position to act as an anchor. Good job all around.
One other small, but cool point is that when the final thrower tosses the rope behind the rescuer and out of reach, he simply runs a little faster to drag the rope right to the rescuer. Cool technique that probably isn’t taught many places, but I would guess comes from a lot of drilling.
There are a lot of reasons to be proficient in technical rescue. Here is a picture of the rescuer with his family that his wife put up on Facebook. Seems like three good reasons to me:
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