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  • Live Victims for Drills

    I'm looking for some input on the subject. I was recently asked a question about this topic from a student who's agency agency uses fire personnel for rope rescue victims during drills. Opinions vary, but I'm looking for a standard or regulations that says this is a bad idea. I checked NFPA 1670, can't find anything that addresses the issue. Any help greatly apprecaited!
    John E. Burruss, NREMT-P
    Heavy-Technical Rescue Instructor
    Virginia Department of Fire Programs

  • #2
    Did a quick search and didn't find anything specific to rope rescue...I for one would use best judgement - WHY put a person at risk when you can use a Rescue Randy or such.....

    Does this agency use personnel for complicated or high-angle training? I could see if they were advanced students/experienced, they may come up with scenarios that may be 'easier' or add some complication with a live patient (like getting a patient to a hard to reach spot).....

    Still don't see that it is a good idea......

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    • #3
      If you send live rescuers over the edge is there much difference in using live victims?

      I guess i don't see any difference in sending live victims over assuming they are in proper PPE (harness, equipped with basic personal equipment, etc). Many times I don't lash the victim in completely so they can escape if something bad happens. They are connected to 2 points at all times however.

      Doing a pickoff scenario for example is pretty unrealistic and difficult with a randy doll and if you are willing to do that there shouldn't be any difference performing any other operation that supports the victim on the rope system.

      I use randys regularly but mostly that is in situations where we don't have the manpower to put real people in the scenario or it doesn't really matter for the drill.

      I don't know of any standard that forbids this practice and am aware that most schools of rescue rely on using students to particpate as victims at some point or another.
      My opinions posted here are my own and not representative of my employer or my IAFF local.

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      • #4
        Definitely don't use dead victims.
        I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

        "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

        "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by pasobuff View Post
          Did a quick search and didn't find anything specific to rope rescue...I for one would use best judgement - WHY put a person at risk when you can use a Rescue Randy or such.....

          Does this agency use personnel for complicated or high-angle training? I could see if they were advanced students/experienced, they may come up with scenarios that may be 'easier' or add some complication with a live patient (like getting a patient to a hard to reach spot).....

          Still don't see that it is a good idea......

          I agree with both sides of the discussion. Our team uses rescue randy until the team or members have mastered the given task. But there does come a time in which the team needs to train for 'real'. Team members need to understand the extra care and attention to details that may be present when performing a live rescue. Those conditions can only be re-created while using live victims. I can not find anything in writing that states not to use live subjects in rope rescue scenarios.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ChiefKN View Post
            Definitely don't use dead victims.
            LOL but then your training for recovery and not rescue. Whole new set of rules
            Brian Irey

            My comments are mine and mine alone - they do not represent any thoughts or views of my department or anyone else

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            • #7
              Consider whatever logic anyone would use to say using a live victim in rope rescue training is unsafe. If you play that logic to its end, you should therefore neither use yourself in rope rescue practice as the rescuer/attendant. If you doubt the abilities of your team, something's wrong that needs to be fixed. Perhaps further training until you are comfortable... Not trying to be rude, just logical and maybe a little blunt.

              Comment


              • #8
                Live training victims

                Yes we use people as victims on a regular basis for a lot of different reasons. If anyone wants a list of the reasons feel free to contact me at [email protected]

                Here is what OSHA has to say about the subject in their Permit-Required Confined Space standard.

                1910.146(k)(2)(iv)

                Ensure that affected employees practice making permit space rescues at least once every 12 months, by means of simulated rescue operations in which they remove dummies, manikins, or actual persons from the actual permit spaces or from representative permit spaces. Representative permit spaces shall, with respect to opening size, configuration, and accessibility, simulate the types of permit spaces from which rescue is to be performed.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ChiefKN View Post
                  Definitely don't use dead victims.
                  Rig for success, right? It is also why we never call them victims, they are patients.

                  Originally posted by EricUlner View Post
                  Consider whatever logic anyone would use to say using a live victim in rope rescue training is unsafe. If you play that logic to its end, you should therefore neither use yourself in rope rescue practice as the rescuer/attendant. If you doubt the abilities of your team, something's wrong that needs to be fixed. Perhaps further training until you are comfortable... Not trying to be rude, just logical and maybe a little blunt.
                  This, Eric hits it out of the park.

                  Using a team member as a patient also gives a new perspective on the operation. The patient can give you feedback that you might miss, as he is watching the scenario from the other side. Can let you know that a tactic might be to rough for an injured patient, also gives that person new found respect for what you are putting a potential customer through.

                  A large problem with using a team member as a victim comes when they are helpful in the rescue. When selecting an individual for the role of patient, brief them to act as stupid to the rescuer as possible, even have them be belligerent or semi-combative. Have the patient ask questions about what is going on and voice concerns over the operation. This makes it more "real life" for the rescuer who might be used to lowering down to a patient, picking him off and finishing the rescue saying little to the patient. Train as you fight.
                  ~Drew
                  Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
                  USAR TF Rescue Specialist

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Live bait rescue

                    Yep, I agree with all that but we tend to think of them as victims until we get to them and initiate patient care then they officially become patients.

                    We also stress to the rescuers that the pretend patient knows nothing about rescue and require the rescuers to explain to the patient step-by-step what they are going to do during the rescue. This helps reinforce in the rescuers minds what the plan is, gives the patient more confidence that the rescuers know what they are doing and since the patient is also a rescuer they can look and listen for potential problems with the plan.

                    When it comes to training for engulfment rescues, underwater rescue, structural fire rescue, etc., I use manikens. They can hold their breath a lot longer than a human and don't complain much when you dump a half ton of dirt or grain on top of them.

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