Firefighter Training

Preplanning for Machinery Entrapments

Issue 4 and Volume 161.

BY STEVE SHUPERT A machinery entrapment is among the most challenging of rescues. It tests the skills and creativity of even the most competent rescuers. This type of incident necessitates coordination among fire/rescue; the hazardous materials staff; EMS personnel; and civilians who have special knowledge about the machinery, tools, and equipment. This type of incident often happens in locations with limited access, poor lighting/ventilation, and excessive dust and debris. Some skills needed are based on vehicle rescue and rigging. Some incidents occur in confined spaces, trenches, agricultural areas, sewage plants, and industrial environments. Types of machines that trap victims vary. They include conveyor belts; escalators/elevators; drills/augers; blenders; presses; robots; power takeoff shafts (PTO); and pneumatic, electric, and hydraulic equipment. Scene hazards may include extreme heat and cold, slippery surfaces, chemicals, stored energy, sharp edges, and biological hazards from the victim or the environment. Since there are an unlimited number of…

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