February 15, 2019

Search and Rescue in Tornado Stricken Areas

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Severe weather events can be extremely taxing on a department’s resources. To lessen the impact on the organization, preparation and training should be implemented in advance. Planning for natural disasters will ensure individual fire companies are prepared to execute extended search and rescue operations involving large areas, inoperative topography, and unstable structures.

If unprepared, Mother Nature’s wreckage can quickly exhaust the capacity of a department’s operational effectiveness. When dispatched to a natural disaster event, companies will find themselves confronted with uncommon circumstances. Employing standard day-to-day operations will result in reduced efficiency at a time when efficiency is most needed.

What are your responsibilities as the first-due company to an area of your city or district that has just experienced massive damage from a large tornado? How will you prioritize and systematically address large areas, treat walking wounded, search damaged structures, control compromised utilities, and attend to trapped citizens?

This interactive class utilizing multiple viewpoints through a short lecture and then hands on will take the attendee through suggested practices for dealing with dynamic search and rescue operations of a tornado event.

Through historical data and past experiences we will show how initial operations are always the most crucial and usually are being conducted with limited to no technical support. Specific strategic goals will be discusses insuring we are covering the number one aspect of the response being life safety, theirs and ours.

We will discuss tactical level search and rescue operations that support the strategic goals and how to effectively perform these functions through an interactive power point that utilizes not only bullet points and photographs but short interactive video produced solely for this class delivery that round out the learning process.

We will then hit the drill field and participate in non-conventional rescue techniques from shoring utilizing structural debris found at the scene to lifting/moving heavy objects with just tools found on suppression rigs that insure we are performing rescue operations as safely as possible with the resources on scene. We will conclude with pt. moving above and below grade utilizing simple systems designed to get the work done with limited equipment.

Objectives include but not limited to:
• Initial strategies
• Large area search techniques
• Building, Search, and Victim marking systems
• Hazard identification and mitigation
• Non-conventional stabilization of light weight constructed structures utilizing resources found though out the debris field
• Simple patient packaging and removal techniques
• Lifting and moving heavy objects with mechanical advantage gained through simple firefighting tools

NOTE: This program can be presented in various formats and various lengths. It can be a classroom program or it can transition to the field for hands on exercise

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