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  1. #1
    JDMcLean
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    Question Radio/Cell Tower Rescue

    I am researching info on cell/radio tower rescues. Has anybody done one? My dept's telecom manager states there is a significant radiation hazard with these. Any info would help. Thanks.


  2. #2
    N2DFire
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    Well - count me among the "Non-Expert" group, but . . .

    I work for a major Electric Utility as my "real" job, and I was very surprised to find out that we have more than just High Voltage towers, we also have 800Mhz radio towers, Microwave towers, and now thanks to Shared Buisness services - some of our High Voltage towers double as cell towers.

    So my first word of caution is to be very sure whats up that structure you are about to climb.

    Second - I would say from a general safty standpoint that I don't care what kind of tower it is. Be it power, cell, radio, microwave, or observation. I do not advocate climbing anything that is still "live" or "hot" - period.

    As for your specific question regarding a "significant radiation hazard", I'm not positive, but I will ask our Telecom People and find out for sure.

    Take Care - Stay Safe
    Stephen

  3. #3
    bcfd29
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    The energy emitted from these devices are typically referred to as non-ionizing radiation (radio frequency energy).

    Identification, hazard control (lockout-tagout, etc.) is an essential part of the pre-planning process and will help you identify (using the utility company or service provider as a subject matter expert) what you need to do to safety the site.

    Consideration into the pre-planning process should also take into account what essential services might be disrupted if you have to power these systems down (i.e.: your dispatch system, telephone switches, air traffic control stuff, hospital paging systems, etc.).

    The NFPA 1006 committee is creating some proposed pre-planning job performance requirements that address these issues for the next edition. You might want to read thru the current edition to address some of these issues as well.

  4. #4
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    I climbed a cell tower about a year ago, just for kicks. At the time my buddy and I didn't really consider the fact that there might be dangerous radiation or anything like that coming from the tower. They really should put up some warning signs on those things - I can honestly say that if there was a sign that said something to the effect of 'you might get cancer or probably can't have kids if you climb this tower' we probably would have turned around and gone back to the apartment. Food for thought for those of you who put up the signs.

    My friend and I are both experienced climbers/mountaineers, so the climbing portion of our journey was quite safe. We did the tower 'big-wall style' with hanging belays and quick-draws placed on the tower structure. Although the actual climbing is quite easy (who can't climb a ladder?) I can see how many individuals, especially those who are not experienced climbers, could have some serious nerves in a situation like that. I've seen a lot of guys who are pretty tough and macho get the hell scared out of them in high exposed situations. The perceived exposure level is much different on an 800-foot tower than an equal sized rock cliff - something about the human mind feels safer at least having part of the earth right next to you (like a cliff) as opposed to being on a swaying, vibrating ladder that goes straight up for hundreds of feet.

    If I was going to be rescued on a tower, I'd prefer that the guy coming up would have at least some experience on a tower. I assume anybody with high ropes training would have the knowledge to safely protect the ascent and descent, but you never know how a person is going to mentally react to extreme heights and exposure until they are in that situation.

  5. #5
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    A recent rescue from a radio tower occured in northern california

    http://www.kxtv.com/storyfull2.aspx?storyid=13937

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber BVFD1983's Avatar
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    How about a 300 foot Bronto?
    FTM - PTB

  7. #7
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    Default Radio/Cell Tower Rescue

    We got a lot of our information on cell towers from companies that install the hardward on the towers. Many people think that the big cell companies own and operate the towers (including construction). When, in fact, the towers may or may not be owned by a cell company, but the construction of the towers is generally contracted to one company, and the installation of the equipment is "subbed" to another company. The tertiary companies are most often a great resource about the towers, and they generally have a lot less "red tape" to deal with before you talk to someone who knows something. I talked to the owner of one company. A lot of times these are people with ties to your community, and in my experience, they can sometimes facilitate cost effective training. They know the hazards as well. They will make recommendations of cable grabs or other equipement that may make your job easier. You can do internet searches for companies that teach cell tower rescue, but these can be pretty pricy. Some of the companies will hold a class in your area as well.

    As for the posting about climbing towers without permission, the towers don't need signs, anymore than a lawn mower needs a sign to indicate that you shouldn't put your hand under it while running. Stay off of them, good sense and consideration should guide you to that conclusion. I know it's my job, but after 20 years, I am tired of sending my crew into dangerous situations and risking them to save someone that just feels the need to "experience the exhilaration of life." If you want to climb a tower for fun, build it on your own property, climb it or jump off it for all I care, just don't call 911. There are enough people who legitimately need our services. I put my crew in harm's way enough for the legitimate stuff, we don't need the bone-headed stuff as well.

  8. #8
    Forum Member Riversong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by csobieski
    As for the posting about climbing towers without permission, the towers don't need signs, anymore than a lawn mower needs a sign to indicate that you shouldn't put your hand under it while running. Stay off of them, good sense and consideration should guide you to that conclusion.
    Towers and lawnmowers don't need signs, however people need signs because "common sense" is a very uncommon attribute these days. And, anyway, the lawyers insist on them to protect from liability.

    Every lawnmower has a little pictograph warning attached, sometimes several:


  9. #9
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    Thumbs up Canned Program

    A really good canned program that is available to you (a little pricy though) is one developed by Reed Thorne and his "Ropes that Rescue" group. It is very complete and has excellent text and graphics. And North Carolina OSFM has a tower rescue course they deliver also. Contact Joe Burris at the North Carolina Department of Insurance, Office of the State Fire Marshal and I think he can give you some good information.
    Pray for the dead, fight like hell for the living! - Mother Jones

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber ShaversFork's Avatar
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    North Carolina recently revamped their NFPA 1006 Rescue Tech. IFSAC came in late 2005 and reviewed many of their courses. I was lucky enough to complete all of the RT classes in time to take the Cell Tower Rescue class (week long). In addition they have recently completed the module(s) for crane rescue as a hybrid/spin-off of the Tower class. The Fire Chief @ Atlantic Beach is dialed in to the Tower/RT stuff. Try to email him at:firechief@atlanticbeach-nc.com. His name is Adam Snyder. He has a powerpoint and CD presentation and access to many other RT presentations. He travels quite a bit doing the training with one of his Captains-perhaps you could get him for a week.
    "If Prometheus was worthy of the wrath of heaven for kindling the first fire upon earth, how ought all the Gods to honour the men who make it their professional business to put it out?"
    Smokey
    Local 4124

  11. #11
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    Thumbs up Good Course

    I had the pleasure to take Chief Snyder's course at the North Carolina Rescue College held in Dobson (Surrey County) NC this year. Chief Snyder, Capt. Mark Rutherford of Gastonia FD and Joe Burris of NCOSFM were lead instructors and presented an extremely informative and VERY challenging 40 hours of training. You have not lived until you have done Tower Rescue with it snowing and sleeting in a 20 mph wind. If you are serious about tower training, these guys would be an excellent resource! I'll bet they will even schedule you a class without the snow and ice!
    Pray for the dead, fight like hell for the living! - Mother Jones

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