Vehicle Rescue Instructor Safety Guidelines – Part 1

SUBJECT: Safety During Vehicle Rescue Practical Skills Training TOPIC: Implementing Safety Guidelines for Practical Skills Vehicle Rescue Training OBJECTIVE: Develop and implement safety guidelines that...


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SUBJECT: Safety During Vehicle Rescue Practical Skills Training
TOPIC: Implementing Safety Guidelines for Practical Skills Vehicle Rescue Training
OBJECTIVE: Develop and implement safety guidelines that address applicable NFPA standards for use when conducting practical skills vehicle rescue training sessions.
TASK: Develop and implement comprehensive safety guidelines for conducting practical skills vehicle rescue training using the sample guidelines and checklist presented in this series of articles.

Attorney: “I assume you conducted a hazard analysis and risk assessment prior to starting the class that my client was a participant in. Could I please see your documentation of this assessment as required by the standard?”

Attorney: “When you assigned the group of students, including my client to that specific junk car, had you ever inspected the vehicle for any hazards that might be present? Were you aware that the fuel tank was leaking gasoline and that accidental ignition was possible?”

Attorney: “What was the pre-arranged emergency evacuation signal required by the generally accepted minimum standards that all participants at the drill were to be informed about and should have been told what to do in the event it was activated?”

Attorney: “I’m assuming you had a designated safety officer for the practical skills training session since it is apparent that there is an inherent risk involved in performing these vehicle rescue practical skills. Who was your safety officer at the time my client was injured?”

Attorney: “At the time that the injury occurred to my client, there wasn’t any standby medical equipment or even an ambulance vehicle immediately available. How long did it take to get an ambulance or even basic life support-trained personnel onto the training grounds to render care to my client?”

Attorney: “Had you or any instructor assigned to work with you ever informed my client that full protective clothing was required to be worn during the vehicle rescue training or was it simply implied that it would be a good idea?”

This multi-part University of Extrication series focuses on safety during vehicle rescue skills training. The multi-part series is dedicated to raising the awareness of the safety responsibilities that instructors automatically assume when conducting hands-on vehicle rescue training. There are generally accepted national standards and “reasonable and prudent” practices that you will be held accountable to should something go wrong. As the instructor, you cannot plead ignorance of your inherent management responsibilities. You are responsible, so be proactive.

For any vehicle rescue instructor, department or training organization that does not have a policy in place addressing how a hands-on vehicle rescue class will be managed, these sample safety guidelines can become the first step in formulating these procedures. The information presented explains the multitude of actions that must be taken by the Lead Instructor before and during the rescue training program.

Going to a junkyard and ripping cars apart isn’t as easy as it used to be. The assumed personal risks involved are inherent with the training that will take place. You know that and the attorneys know that as well. That’s why the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) developed Standard 1500, Standard 1670 and others to assist us in injury prevention in the first place.

Would you be prepared to answer each of the questions presented by the attorney at the beginning of this article as he grilled the instructor on the witness stand? If one of your students were injured, as Lead Instructor, you’d be the one who would have to answer these hard-hitting questions and many more just like them.

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