By Caroline Fassett | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
South Branch Emergency Services, a rescue squad that serves a number of communities throughout Hunterdon County, held a rescue drill at the Round Valley Recreation Area in Clinton Township on Sunday morning.
The training involved both the ground and water units rescuing three hikers in distress as well as victims of an overturned boat in the water. The victim actors were members of the squad.
A total of 32 first responders operated two boats, three ambulances, and a rescue truck throughout the successful drill, which lasted about two and a half hours.
South Branch Emergency Services serves the Town of Clinton, Clinton Township, Lebanon Borough, High Bridge Borough and portions of Franklin Township, Bethlehem Township, and Union Township.
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Caroline Fassett may be reached at email@example.com.
Rich Maxwell | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
First Responder Hone their Skills with a Land/Water Rescue Drill
The training involved first responders rescuing victim actors in distress as well as victims of an overturned boat in the water.
On Monday April 12, 2021, firefighters from the Clinton Fire Department, joined by EMS and Rescue personnel from South Branch Emergency Services, conducted a large-scale drill at the former A&P property. Firefighters were able to train on commercial roof ventilation, oriented-search techniques, and sprinkler operations. CFD and SBES members were able to cross-train with each other and work together.
SBES members trained on ways to access trapped victims by using cameras, pneumatic air tools and battery powered saws to breach concrete walls inside the building. This gave more experienced rescue members the ability to work with newer members to learn different techniques and way s to access a patient that the rescuer is not in immediate direct contact with.
Access to a large commercial structure for training is an opportunity that does not come up often and allows us to train in ways not typically available to us. Special thanks to the Ingerman Group for allowing us access to the property before it is torn down.
On Monday 3/15, members of the SBES Rescue Company were invited to collaborate with Clinton and Pattenburg Fire at the Hunterdon County Emergency Services Training Center for a Car Fire Drill. SBES provided 2 ambulances and the Heavy Rescue with firefighters to assist in providing medical support, air cascade, lighting, and fire suppression.
Crews worked for almost 3 hours though various scenarios, including two utilizing the Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS) from Heavy Rescue 365. Thank you to Clinton FD and Chief Jeff Hedden for the invite, allowing us to further our mutual aid relationship and work together in training
Last Monday, SBES members took the opportunity to practice some skills that we haven't been able to practice over the last couple of years. With this week's frigged temperatures, members could train on various ice rescue tactics at a local pond.
Rescuers trained on "go" operations with the squad's MARSAR Sled. The MARSAR sled is a multi-purpose ice rescue device. The device allows rescuers to remain out of the water and on top of the ice while affecting the rescue. This not only streamlines the rescue but makes the rescue process safer for all involved.
The rescuer's also practiced the use of aerial-based rescues. This is also another scenario that is not often practiced. We want to thank the Clinton Fire Department for assisting us in this drill. Ice conditions for the exercise were perfect.
Often when ice in our area occurs, we have relatively thick ice. The ice for the training was extremely thin, which made all involved work hard to get on top of the ice. At the time, the ice would break too fast for some members to get on top.
We want to remind all community members to never go out on the ice of our local rivers and ponds. Ice thickness can vary even with freezing temperatures. The ice may look thick, but looks can be deceiving.
Thank you to Rich Maxwell for the pictures!
When things go wrong, sometimes very wrong, the community calls 9-1-1 for help. South Branch Emergency Services has a specialized team of rescuers that help in answering that call when it comes to someone injured, incapacitated or trapped in a space and has to be rescued.
One of the best ways to prepare is to practice. Members of the Rescue Services Unit here at SBES held a drill, testing some of the skills they have learned in the past, in case those are needed. This helps these professions prepare for and execute a confined space rescue in a timely manner. Rescue drills provide personnel the experience of working through different scenarios in order to familiarize themselves with situations they could encounter. Conducting rescue drills helps prepare our teams to, when necessary, rescue those in need.
Confined Space Rescues fall into two categories. There are time-sensitive, which usually mean an oxygen-deficient atmosphere or medical emergency exist and may require rescuers to be on supplemental air; or non-time-sensitive, in which case our crews have time to conduct an entry at a slower, more deliberate pace, and usually will not require supplemental air.
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to Confined Space Rescues. Entrants must wear full body harness, have retrieval lines in place, and may be on supplied air to make their entries. This means communications to the outside or safe area, rope lines for entry and retrieval, supplied air set ups, and command to of all the items occurring. All of these items are logged into a "Confined Space Entry Permit" to document the activities and roles of each rescuer.
Having this specialized rescue team is a service that South Branch Emergency Services offers to our response area, but we also are part of a larger, more complex team called the Hunterdon County Technical Rescue Task Force. For events that may exceed our capabilities, or may be in an area not covered by a CSR Rescue Team, the HCTRTF stands ready to respond. Made up of trained rescuers from not only SBES, but also the Flemington-Raritan First Aid & Rescue Squad, Whitehouse Rescue Squad, Lambertville Fire Department, the team is organized by the Hunterdon County Department of Public Safety.
Each year, our Confined Space Rescue Technicians must make at least one "Entry", and this drill allowed several of our volunteers and staff alike to make that entry.
If you would like information on how to become a volunteer of our Rescue Services Team, visit our website at https://www.sbes365.org
Last evening 16 members from both Clinton and High Bridge stations, trained together on marine rescue and South Branch River familiarization.
Crews staffing both Marine 455-3 and Marine 145 traveled up river checking water levels and accessibility locations for rescue operations. While crews did find parts that the boats had to portaged, they were able to adapt and over come. Making simple solutions to get to their goal, crews were able to travel from the spill way of spruce run reservoir about a mile and a half up river just passed the route 31/Halstead Street intersection. Crews also trained on night navigation without the use of GPS systems and night swims.
Meanwhile, other members practiced there shore-based rescue skills such as using rope throw bags.
The drill concluded around 22:00 hours after some much needed cleaning.