Story on Fire Department Rescue and Follow Up Letter Garner Comments

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Letter #2

First Step in An Emergency is to Notify 911

From: Ty Fenton, General Manager, Safety One Training

Dear Editor,

In regards to John’s question regarding training requirements for folks working in the tower industry, Safety One operates in the same industry as Comtrain and several other training organizations. We provide education for workers in the telecom field and many other industries. From our experience, proper fall protection safety and rescue training is imperative to a safe working environment.

There are several questions posed by Mr. Charles, I’ll address each independently:

1.“If the crew was trained in rescue, why call 911?” As a professional training organization we believe the first step in any successful rescue is to notify 911 (or appropriate emergency responders) that a rescue is underway and that medical assistance will be required when the patient is on the ground. Regardless of the severity of the issue at hand (fatigue, dehydration, injury, etc.), if an individual is unable to make their way to the ground on their own they must be evaluated by a medical professional before getting back to work. Generally, relying solely on first responders as a rescue plan is not a viable option because many of the small or rural fire departments may not have access to the equipment or training required to quickly and safely get the patient to the ground.  

2.“…why is the rescue performed by first responders?” Generally, if a tower crew is working to conduct a rescue there is no time to stand back and take photos or video. As such, there is nothing to share with media outlet or post online. Additionally, news crews often survey emergency communications for potential stories. If first responders are on-site only to provide medical assistance from the ground the news crew may not arrive for anything “news worthy”. We find that first responders are only involved in the actual tower rescue component when something has gone catastrophically wrong. This could be caused by a lack of equipment, training or some unforeseen event.

3. Although not addressed by Mr. Charles, rescue skills are “perishable,” without regular and dedicated practice the ability to rely on one’s skills can quickly evaporate. The stress of conducting an actual rescue may have many negative effects on a rescuer’s ability to think clearly, make sound decisions, and operate equipment properly. Training organizations can provide the basic knowledge required to create a rescue plan and perform a rescue, however the ability to refine muscle memory and the proficiency to perform under stress can only be developed through regular practice time set aside by the employer.

Ty Fenton

General Manager

Safety One Training

April 26, 2019

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