Leadership

Decompression Chamber For Tunneling Mishaps

Issue 7 and Volume 126.

Decompression Chamber For Tunneling Mishaps Faced with the fire-rescue challenge of a long-term sewer tunneling project far beneath city streets, the West Allis, Wis., Fire Department has obtained a unique piece of equipment—a $5000 portable decompression chamber to bring out tunnel accident victims without the danger of sudden decompression. Only a few weeks after going in service in December 1972, the portable chamber was successfully used to rescue a worker 140 feet down after his clothes had ignited from an acetylene torch. He was hospitalized in good condition. Before and since acquiring this chamber, West Allis fire fighters have taken intensive training in all the complex aspects of work under pressure: changes in breathing apparatus operation; laws governing decompression stages; restrictions on personal activity required of tunnel workers following decompression; and hyperbaric medicine—how to use controlled air pressure in treating victims of asphyxia, electrocution, etc. This was made necessary by…

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