What is Technical Rescue?

Defining "Technical Rescue".

Technical Rescue

Confined Space Technical Rescue of victim.

The answer is simple: Technical rescue is a transportation problem that needs to be solved quickly.  The team needs to move someone (who is injured or otherwise incapacitated) from a hazardous or inaccessible location to a place of safety.

A few key facts compound the challenges:

  • The team must access the hazardous or inaccessible location without placing members of the rescue team in harm's way.
  • In an industrial location, ambient noise and nearby processes may pose risks.
  • Some degree of medical care and patient packaging will be required.
  • Rescue equipment including rope and hardware will be needed.
  • Rescuers who are under stress, and lack training and pre-plans, may make bad choices (and even if they have these things they still might make bad choices).

Dealing with these facts while still accomplishing the rescue requires a team that reflects specific characteristics, which can include:

  • An organized command structure (Incident Command System or ICS) and team members who can operate within this structure.
  • Equipment caches which were previously inspected, readily available, and complete.
  • Procedures for sizing up hazards, rigging and operating rope rescue systems, and ensuring communication between all team members.
  • Procedures to ensure that information gleaned during drills or actual rescues is captured and included on the pre-plans. 

Developing and equipping a rescue team that can manage the challenges, maintain safety, and perform an actual rescue can appear to be an impossibly complicated process. Whatever we come up with has to reflect the capabilities of the team, the site-specific challenges found in the rescue environment, and the limitations of the available equipment. 

Fortunately, no one has to develop the team in a vacuum. Others have gone before and are willing and able to show the way. It is by studying the best practices of others that we can identify and implement those policies and procedures that reflect our situations and allow us to actually perform a technical rescue.

This article was written by D2000 Safety's Rescue Services Manager, Pat Rhodes, who along with D2000 Safety's Lead Rescue Instructor Greg Arbizo will be teaching an Open-Enrollment Industrial Rescue Train the Trainer Class November 4-7, 2014 in Tempe, Az. You can find out more about this class by visiting our web site here: Industrial Rescue Train the Trainer.

Pat Rhodes July 8, 2014

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