Firefighting

CONQUERING THE ENTANGLEMENT HAZARD

Issue 5 and Volume 149.

CONQUERING THE ENTANGLEMENT HAZARD BY BRAD BOMBARDIERE AND RANDY RAU Firefighters entering a hazardous environment always run the risk of entanglement from numerous sources. Deaths resulting from entanglement in wires, cables, or other such hazards are a major challenge to fire personnel. We observed in training that the most widely accepted method for freeing oneself from entanglements–the “swim” method–left a 30-degree cone or “blind spot” over the firefighter`s SCBA air bottle so that it could not be covered with traditional swim movements even if the swim technique was properly executed. No matter how good the technique, firefighters were unable to swim into the blind spot. Since the profile of the air bottle causes many entanglements, the majority of them occur within that blind spot. We observed recruits as they attempted to free themselves from an entanglement. Anxiety built during the entanglement. After several unsuccessful attempts to “swim out” or disentangle…

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