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.