Welcome to Confined Space Rescue Demonstration: Operations

Written By: Lance Piatt

Welcome to Confined Space Rescue Demonstration: Operations. This demo will provide you with the theory to operate at the NFPA confined space rescue operations level. As rescue is a skill-based event this theory needs to be matched with skill-based follow-up training prior to you trying this on your own.

The Setting and Backstory of the Operational side of Confined Space Rescue

When we started performing confined space rescue standby, many years ago now, we were dispatched to a rescue of a worker in a sewage digester. While the rescue went well (patient lived, rescuers OK) we came up with a few items in the post-incident analysis that caused us concern. Primarily was the limited knowledge we had about confined spaces in general and how the attributes of those spaces affected the strategies and tactics of our confined space rescue. This demonstration carries on from confined space awareness and starts to look at specific rescue techniques based on the atmosphere and geography of the space.

There’s a lot of video on rope rescue, a lot of cool highline failure videos you can watch. There wasn’t a lot on confined space, we found. We just thought, how do we do a confined space video? Not everybody wants to see rigging. And that’s how we’re going to start it.

We’re going to start with rigging. But then we kind of went, well the rigging’s dictated by the strategy and tactics, while the strategy and tactics are dictated by the atmospheric conditions and geography in which you’re rigging. So, we ended up basically throwing the script out and starting again, and starting with why atmosphere is so bad, and how that affects your decision-making as the team leader, the incident commander, or the rescue team leader on-site. And how that atmosphere and that geography changes your strategies and tactics for confined space rescue in a way that rope rescue just doesn’t happen.

You can always deviate something here, or push a line over there in rope rescue. It just doesn’t happen in confined space. If that’s a 24-inch diameter hole, it’s a 24-inch diameter hole. If it’s an 18-inch diameter hole, it’s an 18. And what we do in 24 may not work in 18. That’s going to dictate how this gets rigged, which means your toolbox has to be bigger.

So, that’s where we backed up to, and so we started looking at those hazards in order to give that team leader, and those team members, that knowledge on why we’re rigging the way we are, and why we’re going down that path on that rescue scene. And then, that led us into the different types of rigging. The straight mechanical advantage into using controlled descent with inline mechanical advantage. Using artificial high directionals. And then using things like tension line to rig reeves or skate blocks to. And these are all in the essence of saving time.

These vessels, a lot of times, it’s not like we can change up where we’re rigging. When we’re on these industrial sites, right to us or to the left of us might be some sort of ethyl methyl death. We’re stuck rigging where we’re rigging. And so we have to be more creative with our rigging in these areas, not just in the high angle environment outside, but how we go inside. Ultimately, this is about the patient, getting them to definitive medical care as fast as we can, as safely as we can, with that balance of safety and speed. And the only way we’re going to do that is for people that are watching this, the up-and-comers, the old-timers, to go through, to push the envelope, and to make us better in the future.


  • Tactical Considerations
  • Horiztonal Rigging
  • Monitor Bump & Calibration
  • CSR Haul Systems for Vertical Rescue
  • Controlled Descent Devices & Incline Mechanical Advantage System in Confined Spaces
  • Patient Packaging
  • Portable Anchors
  • Self Contained Breath Apparatus (SCBA)
The Unlimited Team Membership! We have it all!

Peace on your Days



About The Author:

3 thoughts on “Welcome to Confined Space Rescue Demonstration: Operations”

  1. 991044 135041You created some decent points there. I looked on the internet for that problem and located most individuals will go together with with the internet site. 120630

  2. 308708 461230I take great pleasure in reading articles with quality content. This article is 1 such writing that I can appreciate. Maintain up the excellent function. 942435

Comments are closed.