PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - Firefighters in Pass Christian are in a tight spot this week as they take part in a confined space rescue class.
Confined space rescues present some unique challenges for responding firefighters, which is the purpose of the week-long training. The scenario sounds simple enough: Rescue two injured teens trapped in a concrete culvert.
"There's trip hazards, there's air quality. Space. Just having enough space to get in and package the patient. Air quality is one of the main things, because if it's not good, it could take out your people too," said Terry Lewis, with the Pass Christian Fire Department.
Instructor Scott Dubuisson says it's critical that firefighters understand the risks involved with confined space rescues. Statistics show that 60 percent of confined space deaths are the rescuers themselves.
"Communication becomes a problem, wearing a cumbersome PPE becomes a problem, trying to tie knots and tie lashing with gloves, being able to communicate with the outside incident commanders," said Dubuisson. "It all becomes difficult. And the more they practice, the better they get."
Teamwork is an essential element of most fire department responses. But, it is especially critical when working together in such tight spaces.
"We had to rescue someone out of a concrete mixer one time, which was confined space rescue. Had to get in, package them, get them in a stokes basket, then we used a crane to get them out," Lewis recalled.
Firefighters from Pass Christian, Harrison County and Waveland are taking part in the class.