Tuesday, May 25, 2010

SFPUC and Shank/Balfour Beatty Sponsor Pipeline Confined Space Rescue Training on Peninsula

This Spring, representatives from several Peninsula fire agencies participated in a rescue training exercise within a vault and pipeline being constructed by Shank/Balfour Beatty, the contractor on the New Crystal Springs Bypass Tunnel project in San Mateo.


The training exercise simulated a medical emergency in which a pipeline worker suffered a heart attack while painting a 60-inch diameter butterfly valve within the pipeline. None of the firefighters had ever been inside any of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission's (SFPUC) pipelines or vaults.

Firefighters arrived on site, were briefed by the contractor’s liaison, and then performed a permit-required confined space entry. Medics provide initial treatment to the “victim” adjacent to the valve, then packaged and transitioned the victim through a 24-inch diameter manhole into the vault. Due to limited overhead clearance, the “victim” was again transitioned and hoisted through a hatch in the roof deck where he was treated by the medical team and prepared for air transport. The training exercise was completed in about 2 hours.


Carl Kustin, Lead Instructor for trainers Lea & Associates, said “The SFPUC and Shank/Balfour Beatty provided a once in a lifetime opportunity for firefighters to train in an environment where SFPUC employees and contractors work every day. We hope there’s NEVER a need for our services, but when that time comes, the firefighters in this class are much better prepared to quickly access an injured pipeline worker. This was an exceptional training day!”

Representatives from the following agencies participated in the training: San Mateo Fire Department, South San Francisco Fire Department, Burlingame Fire Department, Central (San Mateo) County Fire, Mountain View Fire Department, South (San Mateo) County Fire, Menlo Park Fire District, San Jose Fire Department, SF General Hospital, and the California Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 3 (Menlo Park).

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