FCTRT Members Complete Operational Readiness Exercises in Confined Space Rescue

The Fayette County Technical Rescue Team recently completed two days of Operational Readiness Exercises in Confined Space Rescue at the AOC confined space training facility in Piperton.  A confined space is any space that has limited or restricted means of entry or exit, is large enough for a person to enter to perform tasks, and is not designed or configured for continuous occupancy.  The FCTRT specifically trains for these types of unusual, unique and dangerous situations. 

“Any time you are dealing with a confined space scenario you may encounter a space that contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere, contains a material that has the potential for engulfing the rescuer, has an inward configuration that may cause a rescuer to be trapped, or could contain any other number of safety or health hazards”, said Team member Mac Cross.  “Our training in this technical rescue module includes the recognition and evaluation of confined space hazards, atmospheric monitoring and general testing protocol, ventilation, isolation, and lockout/tagout procedures.  In addition our training places a great emphasis on victim assessment, personal protective equipment, communications and communication systems, heat stress, and victim retrieval and retrieval equipment”, said Cross.

Technical rescue is the use of specialized rescue equipment and technical rescue skills for emergency events that are “outside the norm” of a typical emergency call for our local fire departments and emergency response agencies.  These types of events can include: advanced extrication rescue incidents, water rescue incidents, rope rescue incidents, trench rescue incidents, structural collapse rescue incidents, confined space rescue incidents, dive rescue and recovery incidents, search and rescue incidents, hazardous material incidents, transportation incidents, mass casualty and disaster incidents, animal rescue incidents, and any other major incidents requiring specialized equipment and skills or additional personnel.  Thankfully, these types of unusual rescue situations only occur on very rare occasions.  The purpose of forming a Technical Rescue Team in our local area was to provide free technical rescue capabilities and assistance with experienced volunteers who continually train for these types of unique and unusual situations. 

“Our Team will literally spend hundreds of hours training for an emergency event that may only occur once every couple of years,” said Team Commander Kevin Snider.  “However, when these types of rare emergency events occur, it is critically important to have a local Team ready to respond in order to prevent any unnecessary delays”, said Snider.

The FCTRT training process is extremely thorough and comprehensive in that each Team member is required to complete a rigorous two-part initial training process before that member can become qualified to become actively involved in a particular incident that the Team may be called to.  For example, the Team’s qualified trench rescue incident response members must complete external certified training in both basic and advanced trench rescue from an outside agency such as the Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads which typically involves approximately 40-50 hours of training.  In addition, each Team member must also complete additional internal Team training and Operational Readiness Exercises which typically involves approximately 40-50 hours of training. 

“Our Team has found that having a two-part initial training process better prepares our members for these types of highly dangerous and complex calls,” said Snider.  “In addition, just because you become certified in a particular discipline or module doesn’t mean your training stops – our training and Operational Readiness Exercises are continuous – meaning that we never stop training in any particular discipline or module.  The only true way to build experience and proficiency for emergency calls that rarely occur is to continually practice and complete Operational Readiness Exercises that simulate the varying circumstances and conditions that you could possibly encounter,” remarked Snider.

The Fayette County Technical Rescue Team wishes to thank AOC in Piperton for the use of their training facility during the two days of intensive training in confined space rescue.  The FCTRT is a private, non-profit and sanctioned rescue squad comprised of 31 volunteers from various emergency response agencies and departments that is solely funded through sponsors, donations, and private grants.  The Team does not accept or receive any federal, state, county, or municipal government funding so that there is no cost for the all volunteer Team.  The FCTRT is an Active Unit Member of the Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads and has formed alliances with the Rossville Fire Department, Search Dogs South, and the Kelsey Canine Medical Center and holds active Team memberships with the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR), the International Association for Dive Rescue Specialists (IADRS), the International Rescue and Emergency Care Association (IRECA), the National Association of Volunteer Search and Rescue Teams (NAVSAR), and the Mid-South Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (Mid-South VOAD).  The Team is fully insured; available to respond in most of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas; and provides specialized emergency response to fire departments, police departments, and agencies requesting additional assistance or personnel without charge.  If you are interested in joining, assisting, donating, or just looking for more information about the Team, please visit their website at www.technicalrescueteam.com or call them at (901) 496-6800.