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Roco Reviews the New CMC Triskelion™ Tripod

Wednesday, July 21, 2021
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Triskelion. The name is as old as the concept, three legs coming together to a common point and sharing a load concentrated in the center of those three legs. There are numerous examples of the tripod in Greek, Chinese and Roman history. When it evolved into a design that could be moved, adjusted where needed, and used to create an overhead anchor, we started paying attention. Fast forward a millennium and the concept really has not changed. In the world of work and rescue, we are still picking things up and putting them down using tripods. 

The most common tripod is the rectangular leg design that is popular with work crews covering a multitude of industries. Usually there is a bracket mounted on one leg to accept a cable winch and a couple of head-mounted pulleys in line to run that cable over. This keeps the resultant forces within the footprint and makes them very stable when loaded properly. They are designed to support a single user with a maximum capacity of 310 lbs. and WLL (working load limit) of 350 lbs. The legs are adjustable in height and come with a chain hobble. Workers all over the world are hanging below these tripods as you read this. 

With the new Triskelion™ Industrial Rescue Tripod, CMC has taken that rectangle tube leg design and utilized it for rescue. If your rules of engagement require NFPA compliance with your equipment, you will be pleased to know that the Triskelion is the first industrial rescue tripod to receive an NFPA General Use rating. 

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Roco recently got a chance to put our hands on one and put it through some testing and team reps with a couple of progressive fire departments in Idaho and New Mexico, as well as at the Roco Training Center in Baton Rouge. Firefighters can be tough on gear, but right out of the box they commented on its look and solid feel. Once in use, it didn’t take us long to discover that rescuers wanted to get their hands on the Triskelion as soon as possible. 

We beat it up, we used it hard and rough, and it performed – it really performed. When loading it as a traditional tripod with a block and tackle, it locks in tight. It locks into a never-moving position like a 35-year-old living in his parents’ basement, playing Clash of Clans. He is not moving, and neither is the Triskelion. When the Triskelion is loaded correctly, it is incredibly stable. It is also incredibly quiet. For those who spend any time using work tripods, you are already familiar with that cringe-worthy feeling you get hearing the tripod creak and grind as it hopefully settles into a strong supportive position. The Triskelion is a touch more stoic. It stands up strong and keeps its mouth shut. 

Despite its robust size, the Triskelion is smooth in its operation. If the CMC crew wants to send over the names of the brilliant engineering team members who set the pin location on the legs, we can find the time to buy them a round of drinks. With its new design, we think it’s the best on the market. The rectangular legs are set up with stoppers so that whether you are all the way down, or all the way extended, the pinholes are lined up. Such a simple feature, but one that quickly became a favorite of the Roco teams that used it. 

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The tethered pins are big and user-friendly with ball-locks, but with big pins come big holes so be careful you don’t slip a finger into one while adjusting! Graphics and adjustment markers on the legs are bold and easy to see, making coordination a breeze. The days of struggling to pin the legs at height are over. 

The head-mounted pulleys are low profile and well protected. We used one of them rigged with one of our favorite Tripod systems to perform a shaft rescue (think English Reeve without the track lines and control lines). 

The low profile of the pulley and the elimination of swing from not having to hang a pulley on both sides created a very compact and stable shaft system. The low-profile system also provides additional headspace when bringing out a vertical litter. 

Roco Rescue | Vertical Sked litter raise with CMC Triskelion tripodA group in an open enrollment Roco class in Baton Rouge used the Triskelion to bring up a vertical Sked and had over a foot of clearance left when the feet cleared due to the increased headspace. And just in case you didn’t get all your rigging right before you raised the Triskelion to its 10ft. maximum height, the optional footsteps ensure you can still reach to add, change, or delete anything you need. CMC also offers winch mounting solutions for the excellent Harkin Lokhead winch as well as DBI/Sala offerings. 

The storage bag is reinforced on each end and features sewn handles for a two-person carry. There is also a padded shoulder strap, which you will appreciate if trying to carry alone. The straps are offset towards the head to compensate for the extra weight the Triskelion carries up top. 

Special thanks to the City of Nampa Fire Department and Albuquerque Fire Rescue for contributing and providing feedback. Many of us came into this evaluation thinking, “how good can it be?” and we finished by asking, “when can we get one?”

If you are interested in purchasing the new Triskelion Tripod, you can order from our online store, call us at (800) 647-7626, or order via email at info@RocoRescue.com.ROC003-July-Social-v1roco-fb-insta-4

Sked Stretcher...Celebrating 40 Years and Still the Best!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Few rescue devices have saved more lives than the Sked Stretcher – and it’s literally saved thousands of lives. And, after almost 40 years, it’s still the most compact, versatile stretcher on the market. In reality, it has become a staple item in rescue that is used by thousands of emergency responders around the globe including the U.S. military.

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Roco recently talked with the owners of Skedco to get a little more history on this unique rescue system. According to Bud Calkin, “Skedco has been on a lifesaving mission since 1981 – and while there have been numerous improvements to the Sked over the years, it is still a simple, effective tool for rescuers.” Co-owner Catherine Calkin adds, “Skedco is definitely all about supporting emergency responders, both civilian and military. We’re also about providing a good place to work for our employees. People depend on us; we can’t let them down.”

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We asked a number of questions about the origins of the Sked stretcher as well as how the device is produced, tested and used in the field. Here’s more of our discussion…

Roco: Of course, the first question is how many Sked stretchers do you estimate that you've made over the years? And, how many rescues?

Skedco: Way over a half-million; we produce and ship thousands every year to places around the world. There’s no way to know exactly how many rescues have been performed with the Sked, but we estimate in the thousands.

Roco: What's a day like at Skedco with the manufacturing of the Sked?

Skedco: Busy. We try to have at least 500 standard and HMH Skeds ready to box up and ship at all times. We never know when different governments will place big orders; and, of course, they always expect very prompt shipping. But having these in stock also means that other customers get the same quick shipping times.

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Roco: What gave you the idea for the Sked stretcher?

Skedco: After struggling with all types of rescue litters in the Army and wanting to evacuate a wounded soldier over long distances by myself, I eventually redesigned a game carrier invented by my sister for dragging a deer from the point of kill. After extensive research on plastics and other materials, I built the first Sked. I drew the design around a very heavy guy, and it has never changed – although there are several variations now and I am close to fielding one more for the military.

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Roco: How long did the research and development of the Sked take?

Skedco: Considering the evolution and expansion of capabilities, it was about 5 years. We made changes as needs appeared along the way. Today, there are 8 versions of Sked.

Roco: What makes the Sked so perfect for rescue?

Skedco: Its compactness, versatility, durability and ease of use.

Roco: How do you test the Sked?

Skedco: There were a number of tests that I did on the Sked including “cold crack” testing to
minus 120 degrees; pull testing on the grommets in the plastic; drop-testing; environmental testing of the plastic; chemical absorption testing of the plastic; and pull-testing of all sewn webbing. And I myself was inside the stretcher during in-use field testing of all functions. I felt that if it wasn’t safe for me, then I could not trust the device for others. I had to have faith in the product, or I wouldn’t have produced it.

Roco: What type of plastic is used in making the Sked? And how strong is it?

Skedco: The Sked is made from a proprietary formula of E-Z glide polyethylene plastic. This plastic can withstand temperatures as low as minus 120 degrees without becoming brittle. It has proven to be tough enough to withstand being run over by a 56-ton tank – and then used to drag a soldier around a military base over extremely rough terrain for more than 10 miles! The greatest weight we've heard a Sked carrying was a 1,347 lb. individual. What’s more, there was no damage to the Sked afterward.

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Roco: How is the military version of the Sked different from the civilian version?

Skedco: The military has its own unique specifications for the Sked. It is designed specifically for the battlefield. This includes more subdued coloring; and, in some cases, the stretcher is narrower and shorter for extremely tight spaces and for carrying long distances when size is a problem. However, the plastic material is the same as the civilian version.

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Roco: What is the most unique rescue that has been performed using a Sked stretcher?

Skedco: I think the most unusual and demanding rescue was the cave rescue in Thailand a couple of years ago when 12 kids and their soccer coach were rescued. Nobody thought it could be done but they finally got permission to proceed. The Air Force Pararescue guys out of Okinawa and the Thai Navy Seals performed the rescue. There was an Australian anesthesiologist who mixed the drug combination so the boys could be kept sedated during each rescue evolution. This rescue operation required hundreds of people for support including staging and maintenance of equipment, pumping water from parts of the cave, rigging of rope systems, searching for the boys and providing food and water for the boys. It was a massive effort, and a huge success – we are grateful to have played a role.

Roco: Speaking of water rescue applications, what makes up this specialized version?

Skedco: There is a special floatation system for using the stretcher in water. The system is designed to keep the Sked upright in water. If it gets capsized, it will self-right. Patient packaging in the water takes as little as 20 seconds by only one person.

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Roco: Do you ever hear from patients who have been rescued using a Sked?

Skedco: Very seldom; but when I do, I get some of the most bizarre stories about it!

Roco: How has the Sked improved over the years?

Skedco: There have been many improvements and additions to the original Sked stretcher. Examples include a flotation system, spinal immobilization, better ropes, carabiners, webbing and carrying bag. For the Hazmat/hospital version, I used polypropylene webbing and military-grade plastic side-release buckles for safety in chemical environments. The newer Sked units include Austrian-made Skedco/Cobra side-release buckles, which are extremely strong and durable – and much easier to use.

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Roco: What are your thoughts about the future of the Sked stretcher? Any changes or revisions anticipated?

Skedco: As a matter of fact, I am currently designing 2 new Skeds for the military. Final testing will be done within the next few months.

Roco: What are your thoughts about the future of technical rope rescue?

Skedco: There will always be a need for Technical Rope Rescue – because people continue to get themselves into the most difficult places and in the most dangerous environments. Many times, there are injuries with desperate need of medical care. Thankfully, there are special people who will risk their own lives to save them from these deadly situations; and there are companies like Roco who do the training for those dangerous events.


Roco salutes the entire Skedco team for their many years of service as they approach their 40th anniversary later this year. We also asked what makes it all worthwhile – the many long hours, the never-ending testing and the continuing advancements to the Sked. Founder Bud Calkin stated, “It’s simple. We are extremely privileged to be able to provide a specialized tool needed to perform oftentimes extreme rescues and to know so many hundreds of rescue personnel from around the world who risk their lives on a regular basis to save others. To borrow a phrase from US Air Force Pararescue, ‘That others may live.’ After all, isn't that what it’s all about?”

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Sometimes, Timing IS Everything.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Whether you’re a comedian telling jokes or a quarterback throwing a fade route to your favorite receiver, timing is key. And when you’re rescuing a worker who’s fallen into a fast-moving river, timing becomes an incredibly critical issue. In an instant, a Roco marine standby boat and rescue team can mean the difference in life or death for a fallen worker. What’s more, OSHA requires prompt retrieval during construction projects over or near water, and that’s just what Roco teams can provide.  

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As part of Roco Rescue’s CSRT Services Division, Roco marine standby crews spend hundreds of hours each year on the waterways of the Baton Rouge-New Orleans industrial corridor, ensuring the safety of those working on structures above the water. According to Brad Duplessis, CSRT Director for Roco, “By far, the majority of our marine standby work is on the Mississippi River near a dock or facility under construction, but our teams are mobile and can work most anywhere in the U.S. In fact, we recently quoted a project on the Ohio River.”

Many companies performing construction work over or near waterways may not realize that a boat or skiff in the water for rescue is actually an OSHA requirement. OSHA 1926.106(d) states, “At least one lifesaving skiff shall be immediately available at locations where employees are working over or adjacent to water.” In fact, according to one OSHA letter of interpretation (LOI 6/13/90), the retrieval of an employee from the water is required no more than three to four minutes from the time they entered the water. Depending upon hazards present, rescue could be required even sooner. Another OSHA LOI (12/5/03) states, “As a skiff supplies a backup to potential failures of fall protection devices, the use of fall protection systems is not a substitute for the skiff.”

Simple Premise. Complicated Process. 

The concept is simple. Roco Rescue places a boat on-site to monitor projects where work is being performed over water. The Roco team, consisting of a boat operator and a lead rescuer, is there to closely monitor the site and immediately retrieve anyone that falls in the water. If the worker falls and is hanging from scaffolding or dangling from the side of a structure, it is the duty of the site rescue team to assist. But the minute a worker falls into the water, Roco Rescue’s marine standby team springs into action – and that’s when the process becomes both dangerous and complicated.

“Our eyes are constantly on the water,” explained Devin Payne, Roco CSRT Logistics Manager, who also works marine rescue standby.

“The minute a worker falls in, our two-person team goes to work striving to get that person out of the water as quickly as possible. One team member maneuvers the boat and the other uses equipment like life rings, ropes, grab poles or a davit arm, which is a specialized winch.”

“There are a number of factors at play, plus the fact that the person needing rescue may be injured or unconscious,” said Denver Payne, Roco CSRT Regional Manager (and twin brother of Devin).

“Most people don’t realize the dangers of river water, the intricacies that go into rescue or the potential hazards that stand in our way.”

Current: River water on the Mississippi generally moves at a rate of approximately 30 knots, which is just under 30 miles per hour. Rivers at flood stage can move even faster. At this rate, an individual that falls in can be swept away ending up hundreds of feet from the water entry point in a matter of seconds. For this reason, Roco Rescue boats observe closely from just downstream, ready to pull workers from the water as quickly as possible.

Temperature: Many would assume that river water, especially during southern summers, hovers around the 80-degree mark. However, in actuality, the average temperature of river water is 64-70 degrees, which can lead to the rapid onset of hypothermia. The Mississippi River averages 58 degrees during the spring and early summer due to the snowmelt coming down from the north. At this temperature, hypothermia can set in at an even faster rate.

Debris: Rivers have an unbelievable amount of debris such as tree limbs, logs, trash and more, much of which may not be visible from the surface. A worker may fall on a piece of debris or have debris strike him moving 30 mph, which can render him unresponsive during a rescue.

Visibility: Underwater visibility in a river is zero. If someone falls in without a personal floatation device, he could go under immediately making the rescue even more challenging.  

Boat Traffic: The river is shared by a number of additional boats and barges of varying sizes. Maneuvering the Roco boat between traffic can also be challenging. In addition, a person being swept away at 30 mph who is slammed into the side of a parked barge or a moving boat can experience great bodily harm.

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Special Equipment. Specially Trained Personnel.

Although the OSHA standard does not identify specific training for the rescue boat personnel, all Roco marine standby personnel are First Responder/CPR/First Aid trained, certified EMR or higher, and most are EMTs. Each member has passed a Boater’s Education Course along with specialized Roco Rescue training developed in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard and EBR Sheriff’s Department. Roco boats are fully equipped with first aid kits, AEDs and oxygen for prompt emergency care. These twin-engine crafts are safer and float lower in the water, making rescue access easier. Each boat is equipped with everything needed for rescue including a davit arm strong enough to lift 400 pounds. Our specialized navigation system allows for work during periods of low visibility as well.

We remind all companies who have personnel performing construction activities over or near the water, please make sure you are OSHA compliant and have a boat onsite to provide timely rescue. For additional safety and to ensure the highest level of service, rely on Roco Rescue. For more information on our marine rescue standby services, please contact us via phone at 800-647-7626 or email us at info@RocoRescue.com.

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Roco Talks with Fire Chief about Low-Angle Rescue

Saturday, May 8, 2021

During a recent snowstorm, the Woodbury Fire Department responded to an initial call of a car down an embankment. However, upon arrival, things became quite a bit more complicated. Department personnel were faced with a situation that pushed their training limits, and also created some valuable lessons learned.

Fire Chief Burke and Lt. Kauer (Roco Chief Instructor) discuss some takeaways from this rescue event…

What were your thoughts initially when responding to the scene of this accident?

Chief Burke: We initially received a report of a vehicle that had gone over a guardrail and slid down an embankment. We were unsure of the distance the car had traveled off the roadway or the slope of the embankment. Our priority when we arrived would be getting to the vehicle and assessing the conditions of the occupants.

Lt. Kauer: There was significant snowfall occurring, road conditions were pretty bad at the time. Getting to the occupants to provide treatment and protection from the elements was really all we had to go on with the information we had.

What did you find when you arrived on scene and performed your initial assessment?

Chief Burke: When we arrived on scene, we could not locate the vehicle initially. We could hear a horn going off in the distance, so we knew we were in the right location. With the assistance of the police department, members on scene were able to locate the vehicle after a brief search of the area. The vehicle, a standard passenger car, had traveled approximately 60 feet down the embankment and rolled onto its roof partially submerged in a creek.152401001_3857615917638888_2496111312438141438_n

Lt. Kauer: Chief Burke was already on scene when I arrived and had made his way down to the vehicle to begin assessing the situation. I remained topside to direct incoming personnel and provide any support needed below.

Can you describe what developed as you assessed the scene further?

Chief Burke: The police officers and I started making our way closer to the vehicle, there was approximately 16-18 inches of snow that had accumulated on the slope impeding our travel. When we got to the vehicle’s location, we found there was a 6–8-foot sheer rock face at the bottom of the slope. The two police officers slid down the face to the vehicle, I remained at the top of the face and started relaying information to Lt. Kauer and advised him that technical rescue would be needed to get the occupants topside.

Lt. Kauer: When the Chief contacted me over the radio and advised technical rescue would be required, I started to assess the surrounding area and planning where a safe work zone could be established and identifying any hazards that could complicate our rescue efforts. One of the biggest concerns I had was the amount of manpower that would be needed, and determining how many department personnel would be responding. Being a volunteer department, and given the time of day the incident occurred, it was not a guarantee that we would have sufficient manpower available to execute the rescue in a timely manner. I was hesitant to ask the Chief to request assistance from surrounding departments and deplete their manpower unnecessarily; they face the same issues we do as volunteers. Knowing that rescue efforts would require the use of technical rescue skills, I was also working to set up the rope systems that would be necessary for getting the patient to the roadway.

What strategy was used to successfully complete the rescue? What developed during the process?

Chief Burke: PD made initial contact with the single occupant in the vehicle, and I remained on top of the rock face to coordinate operation with personnel at the top of the slope. We were fortunate that the patient did not appear to be severely entrapped or injured. The officers were able to breach the passenger door window and remove the occupant who had suffered bruising and several lacerations. The patient was initially non-ambulatory but was able to gain mobility as the assessment continued. We still had two significant obstacles in front of us, the 60-foot snow-covered slope and the 8-foot sheer rock face which would have to be traversed during the rescue. I contacted Lt. Kauer and advised of developments, I called for a stokes basket to package and transport the patient up the slope while the team located on top of the slope continued to prepare for the rescue.

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Lt. Kauer: When the Chief updated me on the situation below, I started to formulate a more definitive rescue plan. Our manpower levels on scene were sufficient, which was a major relief. However, our department does not have a dedicated technical rescue team. The arriving personnel were not trained in technical rope rescue and would be limited in the skills they could provide. Being the only rescue technician on scene, I started to give our personnel basic tasks to assist in setting up the rope system we would utilize when bringing the patient up the slope. Being that we were on a roadway, we would need to use the apparatus as our anchoring point. Having personnel inexperienced in rope rescue on scene meant that on-the-fly training would be necessary to successfully complete the rescue in a timely manner. The training covered basic anchoring and rigging principles, construction of the rope system that we would be using for the haul, and team positions once we were ready to initiate the retrieval.

Once the system was in place, and personnel were confident in their assignments, we sent personnel to assist with transporting the patient up the slope.

Chief Burke: I continued to work with PD in developing a plan to bring the patient up the sheer face to the base of the slope. Even though the face was only 8 feet, it was a very steep ascent. Given the conditions, that would make traversing it difficult – even with the assistance of a rope system. This would require us to bring not only the patient, but also the two police officers up the face as well. This would add significant time to the rescue and delay getting the patient up to the road surface. Thankfully, we were able to locate an area about 15 feet downstream that had a significantly flatter slope. The now ambulatory patient was able to move to the bottom of the slope with the assistance of PD. Once the patient had made it to this point, I instructed our members who had arrived with the stokes basket to start packaging the patient and prepare for travel up the slope.

Lt. Kauer: Once the patient was secured, and our personnel were in position, we utilized our hauling system to assist in moving the patient up the slope. Due to the hazardous conditions created by inclement weather, the system not only provided assistance in bringing the patient to the road surface, but it also provided the rescue team members a means of safety as they maneuvered the difficult terrain. 153149510_3857616194305527_3328504075929478694_nContinuous communication was critical in completing the rescue. We were able to get the patient to the top of the slope and transferred to medical personnel for transport.

What unexpected challenges did you face during the rescue?

Chief Burke: For me, the combination of poor weather conditions, snow already built up on the slope, and a sheer face of rock creating an obstacle really compounded the situation. Had we not been able to locate an area with a flatter face, it would have increased the difficulty of the rescue exponentially.

Lt. Kauer: Deteriorating weather conditions during the operation really created some problems. Also, we were operating on an active roadway during the initial stages of the rescue. With road conditions as they were, there was a major safety concern. Until PD was able to get the roadway shut down, we were working with an abundance of caution. Not being able to fully focus on the rescue tasks due to safety concerns can impact your time on scene significantly.

What are some lessons learned your department took away from the rescue?

Chief Burke: We were fortunate to have Lt. Kauer, who is a Roco Chief Instructor, on scene to direct rescue operations at the top of the slope. It would have been very beneficial to have additional resources trained in rope rescue on an initial alarm automatic response. It would have allowed us to have a fully trained rescue team available in a more timely manner. If Lt. Kauer had not been on scene, our own fire personnel would not have been able to perform the rescue as effectively and efficiently as we did.

Lt. Kauer: Know your district and any areas that can present scenarios that are out of the ordinary. Preplan any areas you identify and know how to be prepared for them. Have your team members familiar with basic anchoring and mechanical advantage principles. These types of low-angle rescues do not require a vast amount of skill or equipment to be successful. Practice the basics and make sure your team members are proficient in these skills.

What should other departments take into consideration to ensure they are prepared for these types of events?

Chief Burke: Evaluate your capabilities as a department, look at all the possible scenarios where you may be needed and be honest with yourself. You must ask, “are we able to do what is required if the time comes” In our case, it would be extremely difficult to have multiple members trained as rope rescue technicians. Having mutual aid on auto-response with departments who have these resources readily available is essential.

Lt. Kauer: Never think that these things will not happen in your district. Departments are continuously called to perform outside of standard fire-related duties. Not everyone has to be a technician when you look at rope rescue or other technical disciplines needed for response. Train with your department on the basics, have department members work on simple core skills and develop a good base for technical rescue.

Rescuing from the Bullpen

Friday, April 9, 2021

It is FINALLY that time of year. The sight of freshly mown Kentucky Blue Grass, the smell of $9.00 hot dogs, the taste of $13.00 draft beer. It is that magical moment when America’s pastime – silence football apologist – will once again take its rightful spot at the top of all things important in the sports world.

The sport of baseball has a deep-rooted history and possesses within itself many variables that can affect the outcome of the game. However, there is one component of the game that can be the most decisive reason that a game is won or lost. Let me introduce you to the bullpen pitcher.

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It is odd that the person who will be placed in this decisive role does not have the luxury of getting in a rhythm and working out the nervous feelings and rusty movements as the game develops. No, unlike the rest of the players who have built up to a critical moment and are absorbed in the action, the bullpen pitcher must come in cold. Placed in control of a situation that someone else created, he is expected to perform at the highest level to save his team from an undesirable outcome. 

Does this sound familiar to you? Welcome to the lives of every rescuer.

Rescue personnel do not have the luxury of scheduling when they will be called on to perform in very high-stress situations that demand the maximum from their skills to succeed.

What compounds the situation further is the fact that the outcome resulting from the rescuer’s performance is not winning or losing a game, but the lives of individuals. The ability of a rescuer to be inserted in a situation with less than desirable conditions and perform their skills in ways that achieve the desired results requires a unique person and a very high level of training.

Both of these crafts start out the same.

First, it takes an exceptional person to fill these roles and accept the responsibility, and pressure, that each bring.

Both begin by learning all the skills and knowledge they can and develop their abilities through repetition and further understanding of their trade until they are ready to perform. Armed, one literally and one figuratively, with everything they need to be successful, they set out down their chosen path to achieve success and become a notable ally of good. The problem that they both soon recognize is that most of their time is spent waiting, wanting to use the skills that they have spent time perfecting, but stuck wondering when they would get their chance. For rescuers, not having to respond to an incident that requires the use of their skills is a good thing.

A bullpen pitcher may be called in to stop the “bleeding” when the game is on the line. But the bleeding that happens when a rescuer is called involves a human life. 

People who have a calling for these roles did not dedicate their time and effort just to have a good seat in front of the action that is occurring. They want to be in the moment as it is happening, to contribute to gaining the best outcome possible. Neither of these roles have the opportunity to continuously use their skills in the instance they were designed for. But when called upon to execute these skills in a time of need, they must be able to perform with precise talents and in a proficient fashion. Lack of performance from one may get you sent down to the minors, or just out of a job period. The other, however, potentially faces a far worse reality.

Rescuers do not have the benefit of having an “off day” when lives are at stake.

You can’t just go to the bullpen for a new reliever to take your place, you are the last line of defense between someone’s life and serious, sometimes tragic, results.

If you have been in the rescue business long enough for the newness to have worn off your initial training, you know that the knowledge and skills it takes to be a part of a successful rescue team are highly perishable.

Rescue knowledge and skill must be continuously practiced and studied in order to be at the very top of your game.

Just as a reliever who is expected to paint the corners and produce double-play balls, the rescuer must dedicate themselves to working on their required craft to maintain, and improve, their ability to perform. 

A successful bullpen pitcher is a necessity for success, but they are a singular component of the team. To perform at the highest level, the bullpen pitcher needs many components. A good batterymate and solid defense are imperative. A good manager and scouting report give the reliever the direction and information they need to execute. Again, the similarity between the two crafts shows here. A rescuer is an essential component of a successful rescue team. However, a dedicated rescuer who works to be at the top of their rescue skills still must rely on others for success.

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A team of proficient rescuers who also stay on top of their skills provide the needed defense. A good team leader calling the right pitch serves as the rescuers’ batterymate. Preplanning not only a potential space where rescue may be performed, but all of the variables that may cause unforeseen hazards or impede the rescue efforts serves as a rescuer’s scouting report. A good emergency manager is another critical piece. A team cannot be successful without the funds and time to become proficient. The emergency manager is the piece that fights for the ability to provide the team the opportunity to practice their craft. Annual rescue training is great for “demonstrating and documenting” individual skills proficiency as required in OSHA 1910.146 PRCS, but how confident are you in your skills when you perform them once a year? Continuous training is crucial for the success of any rescue team. 

Both trades will face various situations throughout their career that produce another factor that can impact the outcome of a situation, it is called stress. Lack of preparedness and performance will drastically impact this factor and will assuredly make a bad situation worse. Coming in with 2 outs and nobody on in the 7th to protect a lead will create significantly less stress than coming in with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th no outs with a 1 run lead. The same applies to a rescuer responding to a worker with a sprained ankle who can’t climb a ladder in a non-hazardous environment. This situation will produce minimal stress for a rescue team that is not quite up to par with their skills and preparedness. 

However, the same team attempting to rescue three individuals who are unconscious in a confined space with a hazardous atmosphere will experience an exponentially increased amount of stress, which will certainly play a part in the outcome. Both of these situations require skills to be performed, but a team that is not capable in their skills and rescue decision-making process can potentially cause more harm than good for the unfortunate souls needing rescuers to save them from a perilous situation.

The bottom line is this, rescue teams must train often and with a purpose to ensure that they are ready at a moment’s notice, prepared to face the direst of situations, and capable of achieving the best possible outcome. This includes individual rescuers as well as the team working as a unit. No one wants to bear the scars of a rescue gone wrong. Rescuers want to be the ones that made the difference and let someone get home to their family safely.

So, when the skipper comes out in the 9th and calls for the lefty out of the pen, what rescue team will you be? One that is a pitch away from being sent down to the minors or worse sent packing because of their performance? Or the ace reliever who puts the team on his shoulders in game 7 to bring home the Commissioner’s Trophy? Play Ball!


3 Practice Tips from Roco Rescue

Check out our Quick Drills for some in-house practice, or join us for one of our Compliance Rescue Refreshers.

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