Emergencies that occur in confined spaces are one of the most dangerous situations you can come across. They don’t get all the attention that burning buildings do, but they remain in an extremely dangerous predicament. This is why it is necessary to approach these situations with the best information that is at your disposal. So, let’s go over the ways of safely rescuing a person from a confined space.
Prepare the Rescue Team
To get the best possible results you need a properly equipped team that is prepared for anything that could go wrong during the operation. As Lee Shelby has pointed out, there can be devastating consequences if you are not properly equipped to deal with these situations as they evolve. Regardless of whether the team performing the operation is made up of external experts or trained employees, they must be available at any point for an emergency.
Environmental and Atmospheric Hazards
In these types of situations a lot of people forget about the dangers that the specific environment or atmosphere might do to not just the person trapped, but the rescue team as well. An atmosphere that is corrosive can cause structural damage to nylon harnesses used by rescuers, leading to a potential disaster erupting during the operation. Safety precautions need to be taken in inherently flammable environments as well, as the spark from metal objects can trigger a chain reaction. This is why, in certain scenarios, the equipment has to have another layer of protection against the elements so that they can’t ignite gases or vapor.
Find All of the Available Openings
To have the best results during a rescue operation, you need to know the layout of the place you are going into perfectly. There can be no room for error or wrong knowledge about the area in question. It has to be perfect so that the team can know all of the spaces in the area off the top of their head. This can be seen with the different shapes of the environment. In the case of a vertical opening, you will need to install anchor eyebolts at the entry points. This is why scouting the area first is of great importance to the overall success of the rescue mission. You might lose a few minutes in getting in and out, but if it results in you doing your job better, it’s a sacrifice that must be taken.
Perform a Drill
When approaching a perilous situation, the rescue team needs to be fully aware of the terrain and all of the information available. This is done to better help them understand their own responsibilities and perform their work in the most optimal way possible in the case of an emergency or unforeseen event occurring. Remember, it is key to remain open-minded in these drills to introduce more effective methods of responding to distress calls and saving the victims.
In order to properly perform the drill, you need to make sure that all of the involved personnel are in peak physical shape to be able to do the tough physical activities that are required of them.
Always keep a simple formula in your head in these types of situations.
The rescue time is equal to the time needed to reach the location + treat the person + package them + evacuation
Know When a Situation is Time-Sensitive and When it Isn’t
The most important factor in determining how you should approach a situation is whether it is time sensitive or not. When you have this information at your disposal, you can start working on an adequate plan. If the person that needs to be rescued has a limited amount of oxygen, you won’t have the luxury of a full detailed plan to be worked out. You will need to act swiftly to get them out of there. On the other hand, if the person has fallen somewhere and has broken a bone, the urgency of the situation becomes far lesser, and you can work out a full-proof plan to get the best results, these teams must undergo intensive confined space training to give the most optimal results. Even the more experienced members of the team should be introduced to some extra form of training or given opportunities to improve even further. Any single improvement, no matter how small or large, may lead to a difference in a person living or dying.