Low frequency, high risk: 23 CES firefighters practice confined space rescue

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Courtney Sebastianelli
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs

Firefighters from the 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron conducted confined space training at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, Sept. 20, 2021.

While the need is infrequent to use the skills in a real emergency, the training ensures firefighters maintain required skillsets and can act at a moment's notice to rescue incapacitated or injured individuals from these areas of risk.

“Having this sort of training is important because an event could easily happen in the blink of an eye,” said James Dillingham, a telecommunications mechanic from Mission Critical Solutions, a subcontractor to the 23rd Communications Squadron.

MCS mechanics must enter confined spaces on a daily basis at Moody. Due to the nature of the job, there is a potential for MCS mechanics to encounter occupational hazards such as falling when descending into a manhole, resulting in broken bones or incapacitation.

“We can always be more proficient, especially with technical stuff that’s low frequency, high risk,” said Master Sgt. Rob Jarvis, 23rd CES Fire and Emergency Services health and safety assistant chief. “We always need to be doing this; that’s the stuff we need to be targeting for our training.”

Practicing response time and the use of extraction equipment allows the firefighters to know their roles and responsibilities for confined space extractions. The exercise was designed to have pauses to allow for teachable moments.

“If one of the MCS personnel became incapacitated in a confined space, the fire department knows exactly what they need to do,” said Jason Hughes, 23rd Wing safety and occupational health manager. “This exercise was really just like any exercise–crawl, walk, run scenarios so everybody knows exactly what they need to do when they need to do it in case of a real-world situation.”

Moody AFB emergency services personnel strive to be at their best and equipped to take on any task thrown their way.

“The public relies on us to respond to their worst day and we need to be ready for that, whatever that might be,“ Jarvis said.