Plant works al­low teams to carry out tower crane ‘res­cue’

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS - By MYLES BUCHANAN

WICK­LOW County Fire Ser­vice’s took part in an ex­er­cise at the Vartry Wa­ter Treat­ment Plant in­volv­ing the staged res­cue of a crane op­er­a­tor.

Also in­volved in the ex­er­cise were the Dublin and Wick­low Moun­tain Res­cue Team, BAM Ire­land and a safety co­or­di­na­tor from In­dus­trial Safety and Res­cue Tech­niques (ISRT).

BAM ini­tially con­tacted Wick­low County Fire Ser­vice as the con­struc­tion group pre­pared to erect a tower crane at the Vartry Wa­ter Treat­ment Plant to dis­cuss lo­cal emer­gency ar­range­ments for in­ci­dents in­volv­ing crane op­er­a­tors and oth­ers work­ing at height.

Ai­dan Dempsey, Chief Fire Of­fi­cer said: ‘It was agreed that the best way to en­sure an ef­fec­tive re­sponse was to un­der­take an ex­er­cise based on a sce­nario where a crane op­er­a­tor needed to be res­cued from the cab of the crane. As part of the ex­er­cise plan­ning, Dublin and Wick­low Moun­tain Res­cue were consulted and they agreed to at­tend the ex­er­cise as ob­servers and to take the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss in­ter-agency co-or­di­na­tion.’

On the day of the ex­er­cise, a man­nequin was placed in the cab of the crane and fire crews were tasked with car­ry­ing out the res­cue us­ing stan­dard equip­ment car­ried on their fire ten­ders.

The ex­er­cise was mon­i­tored by Mal­colm Hunt from ISRT, which are Wick­low County Fire Ser­vices’ con­fined spa­ces and height res­cue in­struc­tors, to en­sure ap­pro­pri­ate safety pro­ce­dures were al­ways in place.

Two sep­a­rate tech­niques were used as part of the ex­er­cise. The ca­su­alty was placed in a ‘SKED’ stretcher and low­ered di­rectly to ground down the out­side of the crane struc­ture. They were then low­ered in stages down the in­side of the tower. Both meth­ods were suc­cess­fully com­pleted.

The ex­er­cise proved that low­er­ing a ca­su­alty down the out­side of a crane is eas­ier to ex­e­cute, quicker and sim­pler and should be the method used where pos­si­ble. It was also felt that cranes taller than the tower crane at Vartry Wa­ter Treat­ment Plant site would ne­ces­si­tate longer res­cue ropes than those car­ried as stan­dard on all Wick­low Fire Ser­vice re­sponse ve­hi­cles. Res­cue from heights in a ru­ral set­ting is gen­er­ally a task for a moun­tain res­cue team, while res­cue from heights in an ur­ban or in­dus­trial set­ting is gen­er­ally a Fire Ser­vice task.

It was also found that Wick­low County Fire Ser­vice and Dublin and Wick­low Moun­tain Res­cue have com­pat­i­ble pro­ce­dures to be able to op­er­ate to­gether ef­fec­tively at a range of op­er­a­tional in­ci­dents.

When made aware of the outputs of the de­brief process BAM, as part of their CSR pol­icy, kindly of­fered to pur­chase the longer res­cue ropes iden­ti­fied dur­ing the af­ter-in­ci­dent re­view process.

These ropes in spe­cial­ist bags were pre­sented to Wick­low County Fire Ser­vice at the Vartry Wa­ter Treat­ment Plant site last week.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of BAM hand­ing over spe­cial­ist res­cue ropes to Ai­dan Dempsey, Chief Fire Of­fi­cer at Wick­low Fire Ser­vice.

The ‘ca­su­alty’ be­ing low­ered from the out­side of the crane tower.

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