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Beyond the Academy: Machinery Rescue Operations

This course is truly one of a kind.  Brotherhood Instructors, LLC. has partnered with H&R Machine to create one of a kind training props to simulate machinery entrapments.  This course was designed through the collaborative efforts of Andrew Brassard, Jamie Morelock, Jamie Hiller, and Mike Tesarski.  Each of these individuals, in addition to being a firefighter, has specific experience and expertise in fields related to this topic including: mill-wright (machinery repair), machinist, welder/fabricator, and technical rescue technicians.  Jamie Morelock and Mike Tesarski are also paramedics. 

This 8-hour interactive course gives students a look into machinery entrapments and extrications.  The first hour and a half is spent in the classroom reviewing case histories, lock-out/tag-out techniques and procedures, tool kits, and medical considerations. 

Following the classroom presentation, students were broken up into four groups to participate in the following rotations:

Morning Rotation 1: Tool Familiarization - Previous generations of firefighters brought a tremendous amount of trade experience and mechanical ability to the firehouse.  Modern firefighting recruits seldom possess the mechanical skills as those before.  This rotation allows students that are unfamiliar with hand, electric, and pneumatic tools to gain these skills and gives experienced students a refresher.  This rotation included: cutting with the wizzer saw, drilling and punching rivets, sheering rivet heads off with the air chisel and punching, removing bolts with an air chisel, cutting with a dremel tool in a confined area, impact gun use, and snap ring pliers use.  Each of these skills would be necessary to perform the simulated extrications later in the day.

Morning Rotation 2:  Size-up - Size-up is one of the most important aspects of any firefighting operation and is especially important when dealing with machinery entrapments.  Students used a search camera to look inside this simulated machine to determine the associated hazards.  Inside they found electrical and chemical hazards that were evaluated using facility information and the HAZMAT emergency response guidebook. 

Morning Rotation 3:  Torch Use - The torch is a very quick and effective cutting tool in the hands of a skilled user, especially when working in close proximity to a patient.  At this rotation students discussed the pros and cons of using a torch as well as hazards that would preclude the use of a torch.  Each member was then afforded the opportunity to cut various pieces of metal using the torch under the supervision of an instructor. 

Morning Rotation 4:  Lock-out/Tag-out- One of the most important steps in machinery extrication is to ensure the machine will not operate while we are working on it.  Students practiced locking and tagging out various types of valves, switches, cords, hoses, and controllers. 

Afternoon Rotation 1:  Meat Grinder Entrapment - Supermarkets, delis, and butcher shops are all prime locations for a possible machinery entrapment.  Grinders, saws, and conveyors are just a few of the common items found in these facilities.  At this station students practice locking and tagging out the equipment before moving on to assessing the entrapment and beginning the extrication.  To disassemble the meat grinder, members had to drill or air chisel and punch several rivets, cut with the angle grinder, and use various allen wrenches, screwdrivers, wrenches, sockets, and prying tools.   

Afternoon Rotation 2: Fence Impalement & Auger Entrapment - While this may be a rare occurrence the tools and techniques can be applied to this and other impalement scenarios.  Students used both the torch and sawzall to cut sections of the fence while cooling the metal to prevent heat transmission to the patient.  Augers have many uses in farm and industrial settings.  Lose clothing or a misplaced limb can easily become entrapped in these devices.  Students practice stabilizing this heavy section of auger before beginning to cut it and continually support it as it is lifted.

Afternoon Rotation 3:  Hand & Finger Entrapment – Hand & Finger entrapments are one of the most common machinery rescue incidents emergency responders will encounter.  Individuals have been known to get their fingers stuck in rings, bottles, gas fill pipes, etc.  This rotation will allow students to practice cutting in close proximity to the patient’s hand or finger while taking precautions to protect the patient at all times.  Metal, glass, and plastic cutting options will be practiced.

Afternoon Rotation 4:  Real Machinery - This rotation uses a rescue manikin and some foam hands to recreate entrapments in real machinery.  Snow blowers, riding and push lawn mowers, a tilling machine, or other junk equipment provide the students an opportunity to use the tools and skills in complex scenarios.  Students work together to size-up the situation, stabilize the patient and machine, discontinue power, release or render stored energy safe, and extricate the patient. 

Brotherhood Instructors, LLC. owns all of the tools and props necessary to conduct this class.  This class can easily be brought to your firehouse or training facility.  Single portions of the class can also be offered as crew or company drills.


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