Confined Space Rescue

The need for confined space training is one that is commonly seen and not always recognized.

When you drive past a utility worker entering a manhole cover, that person is entering a confined space that has the potential to contain oxygen deficient, toxic, flammable, or other dangerous atmospheres. If the worker becomes injured or overwhelmed by that atmosphere, only trained and competent rescuers will be able to safely enter that space.

These actions are regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Since some of these spaces have no ladder to use for entry, ropes must be employed to enter the space to assess and begin treatment of the patient.

Once the patient is prepared to be removed, ropes will again be required to remove them from the space.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that 53 fatalities and approximately 10,700 injuries could be prevented each year if competent and comprehensive Confined Space entry programs were implemented. These entry programs must educate employees and rescuers to the unique hazards of asphyxiation, entrapment, and exposure to toxic atmospheres.

Because 60% of all fatalities in confined space rescues are the rescuers, the Stevens Point Fire Department is committed to adequately training and equipping all members in performing rescues safely.

Members of the Department are trained in safely and effectively entering spaces like boilers, underground lift stations, sewers, and above and below ground storage tanks, to perform a rescue.

The Stevens Point Fire Department Confined Space Rescue Program was developed at the request of local industry to assist in complying with the rescue requirements of OSHA standards 29 CFR 1910.146 and ILHR Chapter 32, subchapter VI.

Equipping and training members for these unique rescues requires the financial support of not only county and city governments, but also private industry. This county wide support has made it possible for the SPFD to respond not only within the jurisdictional boundaries of the city, but throughout the entire county, per mutual aid requests.