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Firefighters get confined space rescue training

October 5, 2012
By MARK J. MILLER - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

TORONTO -City volunteer and paid firefighters along with members of several different surrounding departments engaged in two weekends of confined space rescue procedures and techniques.

The training, conducted by instructors from Cleveland State University, was held Sept. 22 and 29-30, according to Toronto fire Chief Frank McEwen.

"We've hosted three training sessions in the past two weeks," said McEwen, adding 18 personnel from Toronto, Tiltonsville, Mingo Junction, Mount Pleasant, Brilliant, Wintersville, Hopedale and the TEMS Joint Ambulance District attended. "The first class was on confined space entry. This was a basic class on how to approach a confined-space scenario. You've got to know the safety requirements on how to approach a confined-space rescue."

Firefighters have to follow specific guidelines on confined space rescue to protect themselves and those being rescued, said McEwen.

"There are proper techniques for securing the site," said the chief, adding training Sept. 29-30 included one day of classroom instruction and another of hands-on rescue scenarios.

"The first day of training on Sept. 29 was on confined space rescue here at the station," said McEwen, adding firefighters must know how to safely enter a confined space once the scenario has been established. McEwen said a chain of command has to be established for all rescue scenarios.

The second half of confined-rescue training was on the various knots and rescue devices that may be needed for rescue, including personal safety harnesses and "specific pulleys and equipment we use to lower the (person rescuing) into holes," said the chief. "During the second half a hands-on training session was conducted at the Toronto water plant. The demonstration included several different rescue scenarios."

McEwen said the training was required by the National Fire Protection Association.

"We have several new members who had never had this training and were unfamiliar with some of the equipment," McEwen said. "In order to conduct a confined-space rescue we have to be trained and refreshed annually. This is as much for our safety as for the person we may need to rescue.

"The training was funded by grant funds acquired by our volunteer force," the chief continued. "There was no cost to anyone."

"Part of the day was spent on explanation and instruction on assigning rescue personnel to specific tasks."

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