Do not be alarmed if you see a bevy of firefighter activity around town this week. Prince Rupert Fire Rescue (PRFR) is engaging in additional safety training with a three-day confined spaces rescue technician course and a two-day firefighter self-rescue and survival course.
“This is a very intensive course because there are a lot of dangers in a confined space,” Chad Cooper deputy fire chief of PRFR, said.
“In the confined space course (the firefighters) learn how to quickly, efficiently and safely rescue any victim trapped in such an area. Time is of the essence in a confined space for the victim,” Cooper said.
Cooper explained a confined space could be anything like a manhole, a lift station, electrical vault room, a well, even basement crawl spaces.
“In a confined space, you’re dealing with restricted access, limited mobility, because it could be a small pipe,” Cooper said.
Contributors such low oxygen concentrates or other chemicals and gasses such as carbon monoxide can exacerbate a rescue situation in which the first responders need to be fully trained.
“We brought in highly specialized industry leading instructors from Vancouver, Dynamic Rescue Systems to conduct the course,” Cooper said.
Twelve firefighters are currently taking part in the certification course, John Dennis manager of Dynamic Rescue Systems said.
Dennis was a firefighter himself, for more that 33 years and now provides highly specialized training all over the province, as well as consulting and providing rescue teams to industry.
Copper said the Prince Rupert area has been lucky so far with no confined space emergencies, but the training is necessary and beneficial to the crew.
“We are listed on the rescue plan, so we’re confident that when they call, we are ready.”
The firefighter survival course is training on how to rescue a fellow firefighter that is trapped or injured in a burning house or structure. Firefighters needs to know how to extricate and rescue themselves in a bad situation, Cooper said.
“It is a highly dangerous job. We can’t control all the hazards, but when something bad happens, firefighters are trained to react and go save one of their own or rescue themselves in a bad situation.”
K-J Millar | Journalist
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