When emergencies occur, firefighters, police officers and EMS respond. It’s what they do – it’s simply in their DNA.
To help prevent rescuers from becoming victims, NFPA has created a new fact sheet and is offering free online training so that firefighters are aware of hazards when responding to emergencies and non-emergencies in confined spaces.
Confined space incidents are rare, but they pose tremendous risks for employees, contractors and rescuers as reported earlier this year when three workers perished in a manhole, and a volunteer firefighter was seriously injured by toxic fumes. Two NFPA documents cover confined space – NFPA 350: Guide for Safe Confined Space Entry and Work and NFPA 1670 Standard on Operations and Training for Technical Search and Rescue Incidents.
The new NFPA First Responder Confined Space Safety Fact Sheet provides shareable information regarding potential hazards, OSHA regulations, and best practices so that firefighters are aware of the dangers that may lurk in spaces that have limited means of egress. Places like crawl spaces, tanks, vaults, elevator shafts, and some tunnels may be large enough to work in but they are not designed for continuous occupancy due to limited ventilation and other dangers. It’s important for firefighters to know what they are up against.
NFPA is also offering free First Responder Recognition of Confined Space Hazards online training so that firefighters are aware of potential emergency response issues. To date, more than 1,000 have taken the training to better understand confined space challenges.
Two additional one-hour training modules are available. One that focuses on the identification of physical and atmospheric hazards and monitoring, as well as the evaluation of a confined space using NFPA 350. The other explains how to identify work controls; describe ventilation equipment; and address permitting and rescue planning. Both on-line sessions offer scenario-based exercises, onscreen visuals, videos, knowledge checks and printable job aids to help apply concepts effectively.
Firefighters will continue to respond to confined space incidents just like they did in a Braintree, Massachusetts water tower 100 feet above ground last year. Use the new NFPA first responder confined space resources to recognize and evaluate life-threatening confined space concerns before it’s too late. It could help save your life and the lives of others.