This class not only provided a complete refresher for firefighters who had already taken the course before, but also involved new recruits who had not yet received the training for certification.
“We brought in a professional trainer with ‘Chief Instructor’ status from the ROCO Rescue company to oversee the training for our department,” said Hazelwood Fire Chief Dave Radel. “Battalion Chief Keith Shields has worked with us before. He is a consummate professional and has a great rapport with our firefighters.”
Shields works for a municipal fire department near Vancouver, BC, Canada, where technical rescues are made on a regular basis. During his off-duty time, he serves as an instructor for the ROCO Rescue company training firefighters and rescuers all over North America. Shields provided four, 10-hour training days for each of three Hazelwood crews to complete this certification.
With local business support, Hazelwood firefighters practiced rescues from the roof of the former Pillsbury building on Pershall Road. This required precision rigging of ropes and pulleys, as well as securing a simulated victim (one of the firefighters) to lower or hoist to safety. Confined space rescues were simulated using a large training prop on loan from Ameren Missouri. These types of rescues require a further layer of protective equipment and training for firefighters since these small areas often have poor air quality and other hazards associated with their normal use.
With their enhanced skills, Hazelwood firefighters will now continue with ongoing ROCO training as part of their routine cycle of training exercises on a regular basis.
LEFT PHOTO — A simulated victim is being hoisted by a Hazelwood firefighter using the aerial apparatus of a fire truck.
RIGHT PHOTO — Precision rigging of ropes and pulleys is being used by this Hazelwood firefighter to lower a simulated victim.