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Rescue Training Outside the Box

by Greg Preston
Rescue Training Outside the Box

Rescue Training Outside the Box

As you know, training is my passion and I believe that we should grasp every opportunity to improve our skills and knowledge when it comes to technical and medical rescue. Sometimes training can become a little repetitive and a good instructor will mix things up in order to test their students.

I have previously blogged about making the most of your training resources, training at night and Jason Bell recently wrote an excellent blog on repetition versus complexity when it comes to training.

Epic training scenario

Last November however, I saw a training event at Palm Beach State College Fire Academy which really wins the award for the most outrageous scenario created; it is seriously epic. In typical social media style (as it was posted on Facebook) it generated a lot of interest. Many were complimentary and some were extremely negative in regard to the likelihood of such an event taking place and hence the need for such a training session. But are the people behind the negative comments missing the bigger picture here?

Rescue Training Outside the Box

Think outside the box

On the face of it, a vehicle suspended half way up a building is highly unlikely (although I am sure someone can trawl the internet to prove me wrong) but such a training event provides a basis for really thinking outside the box and testing people’s skills, methodology, ability to assess risk and generally places a completely different dynamic on a training session.

When I look at this training scenario I do not simply focus on the likelihood of the supposed event; I do not focus on the fact we have a car halfway up a building, I immediately think:

  • Multiple disciplines being utilised (high angle rescue, vehicle extrication and patient care for a start)
  • Dynamic risk assessment skills being tested to the limit
  • Patient access and their practical relocation; decisions to be made here!
  • Assessment of equipment and resources to be used

If I was to plan this as a training event I know that I could discuss options, tactics and considerations with my crew for the best part of a whole day before we even got ready to complete the exercise. It really makes people think, prioritise and (literally) look at things from a different perspective.

Rescue Training Outside the Box

“Normal” elements

If you were to look at this for what it is, you would be right in thinking “that will never happen” but let’s look at the component parts of what is going on here, because there are elements of this exercise that are present in many ‘normal’ road rescue scenarios. For example;

  • A trapped patient with compromised access meaning extended time before you can reach them
  • A vehicle in an unorthodox orientation and as a result a patient in a suboptimal position
  • The need to combine multiple rescue skills i.e. technical rescue with line rescue
  • The need to choose the correct equipment first time due to the compromised access

These considerations do not just apply to outlandish training sessions like the one created here, but happen at everyday rescues we all attend on a daily basis. What we have here is a ‘perfect storm’ where anything that could go wrong (and make life difficult for the rescuer) has gone wrong!

Next time you see a training scenario like this, do not be too quick to judge. Whether it was by design or by accident, this example will no doubt raise some key learning outcomes that can be used at more common types of incident.

I have to congratulate the facilitators of this event for a great job!

And for those who are curious about the Facebook post, you’ll find it here.

By Ian Dunbar
Rescue Consultant

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