Standby Rescue in Washington

Standby Rescue in WashingtonLocated to the Northwest of Mt. St. Helens in Washington, the Cowlitz Falls dam is a 70 megawatt hydroelectric project operated by Lewis County PUD. Every couple of years the crews need to shut down and inspect the turbines, which requires the construction of a temporary work platform directly beneath the turbine blade. During the last shutdown, in August, D2000 provided standby rescue and training.

"The problem is that you have to provide fall protection while the workers are beneath the turbine placing the beams and planks to create the platform," according to Leader Rescue Instructor, Greg Arbizo. "We managed to create several secure anchors by rigging cargo slings around the stay vanes in the scroll case above the turbine. Once this was done, we could then feed ropes below the turbine for the workers to clip into."

This method proved to be much easier and more effective than previous fall protection methodswhich tended to subject the workers to a possible swing fall.

"We also had a chance to demonstrate a lowering system which made accessing and inspecting the downdraft tube much easier," said Jim Johnson, who assisted Greg. "Previously they had to use a ladder which was very hard to position, and then there was no means of rescue. Using a simple lowering and raising system they can access this part of the dam remaining connected to a retrieval line."

The D2000 instructors also had a chance to work with the dam's crew to conduct a practice rescue, which involved packaging and raising a dummy from an escarpment at the foot of the dam.

Jim Johnson April 17, 2014
Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF