A couple weeks ago Andrew Brassard shared a prop idea that he made. Essentially, it is a maze that firefighters have to maneuver so a ball gets from the starting point to the end. Brass made his out of steel and Grant Light put one together with wood. I took the opportunity to put hand tools, a torch, and a welder in the hands of some firefighters.
The prop didn’t take long to make and was cheap to build since we used scrap steel.
Here are the rules I gave to the crews:
- Use every lifting tool on your engine at least once. For us it included: pry bars, wedges, high-lift jack, bottle jack, airbags, spreaders, portapower.
- No touching the prop with your hands
- No banging the prop with a tool to get the ball to move
- No blowing on the ball to get it to move (late rule add, but firefighters are innovative)
- If you lift an inch, you crib an inch
The crews have been working around 40 minutes to move the ball through the maze. Some of the observations and teaching points from the training include:
- Communications between the crew is essential. Sometimes two lifts at nearly simultaneous times were needed to prevent the ball from becoming trapped.
- Teamwork is important.
- The boss needs to have a vision for where the ball needs to go. Multiple ideas may work, but which one is fastest and safest?
- Understand where your equipment is located on the rig and how it works. The spreaders may be fast, but the portapower or bottle jack may be better for precision lifts.
ALBERTA Advanced Heavy Rescue Symposium
Have you walked thru your local school and thought that the lockers could fall on someone?
Outside the Box
The lifting maze training props that made the rounds across social media last year could use a little updating after looking at the pictures from the rescue call that the Medway Fire Department responded to. If you look at the pictures, the lockers appear to be several sections of lockers attached together. Lifting all the lockers as one unit may not be possible. A scenario like this will require more cribbing that a large rigid object.
The custodial worker was pinned under the lockers in a second-floor hallway. This type of rescue will require a large cache of equipment. Consider the your plan A and plan B lifting tools. Airbags and battery powered extrication tools are easily deployed inside a building. If plan Z was to run a gas powered tool do you have ventilation setup along with air monitoring to ensure the patient and rescuers are not put in danger?
After a quick web search I found that the average 5-6 feet tall, 3 locker section weighs around 175 lbs. Looking at the pictures, it looks like 3, 3 locker sections fell on the worker. However, the contents of the lockers is the unknown. The lockers could be empty or full of textbooks and other items.
Strong work by the Medway, Norfolk, Millis and Bellingham fire departments freed the pinned worker. This is another one of those calls that could happen anywhere. Nearly every school has lockers lining the hallways. Often, the hallways do not have easy access to the outside of the building and the parking lot. Keep that in mind because all the equipment will have to be carried in.
Man vs. Machine Rescue Awareness
Machine rescue runs have new boundaries and every firefighter needs to understand many different techniques.
Man vs. Machine Rescue
Man vs machine can happen in any city across the world and is not limited to large cities or industrial centers. Don’t get complacent and assume that it will never happen while you are on-duty. Consider a teenager stuck in a full bucket toddler swing seat. Do you know the steps to take get that patient out of the swing? How about a person that has their leg stuck in a PVC drainage pipe in a yard during the winter in below freezing weather? These are two of the incidents I personally ran on and several posts on Paul Hasenmeier’s website provided me with enough information in the full bucket swing ran.
However, I did learn several things during my incident.
- Eliminate gravity from the equation. Bring the stretcher over patient can sit on it while you cut the chains.
- We tried cutting the seat with bolt cutters, cable cutters, and wire cutters unsuccessfully.
- Plan D, we moved the patient to the Rescue truck and used hydraulic cutters. Not the best option, but it worked.
- My department used the full bucket swing to find a handheld ratcheting cutter that cut thru it. It’s now on the rescue.
Below is a video link to the webcast of Man vs Machinery Incidents: Are You Prepared? presented by Mark Gregory, Lieutenant, Fire Department of New York. Mark teaches his Man vs Machine HOT class at FDIC every year and is a must take class. Mark is also a co-owner of P.L. Vulcan Fire Training.
Man vs. Machine Rescue Kit Examples
Below is an example a kit that All Hands Fire developed with PL Vulcan Fire Training Concepts.
Even a simple Google search for “Man in Machine Kit” can yield dozens of examples from department big and small.