IRECA: June conference expands competition

Smith Brayton Fire Training Field in College Station, TX is an internationally recognized emergency response training center.
Offering something a little different every year has been the guiding principle behind planning the International Rescue and Emergency Care Association conference. However, the 71st Annual Conference & Challenges being held June 17 through 21, 2019 in College Station, TX represents a more ambitious leap for IRECA. With Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service’s (TEEX) Brayton Fire Training Field and Disaster City® as its location, the conference is expanding the number of teams competing in its rescue challenges from six to 12, said past IRECA president and conference chairman Gary Leafblad.  “Doubling the number of teams in one year represents a big gamble for us,” Leafblad said. The last IRECA conference was conducted in Boise, ID using the Amalgamated Sugar refinery as the setting for the challenges involving seven-member technical rescue teams and four-member first response rescue teams. There was also a basic life support challenge open to three-member level teams. Moving...
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A systematic approach to rescue ops

Amid the chaos and excitement of any rescue operation, there are often important aspects of incident that can be overlooked. Sometimes, the sequencing of tasks becomes disjointed. Though the outcome we all seek is the same, the way we get there can vary between rescue teams. The key to success is to create a systematic approach to perform functions that ensures that they will occur in proper sequence and in a timely manner. For example, we use the acronym P.A.S.S. when we use portable fire extinguishers. It stands for Pull – Aim – Squeeze – Sweep. These four steps must be performed in a certain sequence to be successful. In EMS, we use a variety of acronyms from ABC [Airway – Breathing – Circulation] to the SAMPLE history [Signs/Symptoms – Allergies – Medications – Previous history – Last intake – Events preceding]. Search and rescue teams have used L.A.S.T. [Locate –...
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Adding an extran'P' for proper PPE

Whenever groups of hazardous materials responders get together, their conversation inevitably revolves around their most recent hazmat incidents. What was spilled, how big it was, how much damage was caused, and what they did to mitigate the incident are usually the main topics. Somewhere within the discussion someone will ask, “What level of PPE were you wearing?” Often, you will hear the ‘Alphabet Suit’ response. “It was so bad we had to go in at Level A. Even the decon team was in level A.” However, does the alphabet suit system fully explain how we chose the proper personal protective equipment (PPPE)?   Determining the Need for PPE In our training programs, we use the Benner D.E.C.I.D.E. model as a systematic approach to mitigating hazardous material incidents. The six-steps begin with detecting and identifying the chemical(s) involved in the incident. This is the key to any other actions that will be...
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IRECA - Improvising a rescue by ground ladder

I was preparing a lesson plan for my technical rescue students when I came across the rules for a rescue competition event they were going to attend. I looked at the various skills they would need to be proficient at performing. There were ropes and rigging, lowering, belaying and hauling skills. Patient packaging and patient care were also being evaluated. But then I came to a section on ground ladder rescues, and it made me stop to ask myself, “When would I ever need to perform a rescue like that?” During my career as a firefighter/EMT I attended many training events and rescue schools. As far back as the mid-1970’s, when I took my first Civil Defense Heavy Rescue course, I remember being shown the various ways in which a rescue squad could improvise rescues by the use of fire service ground ladders. These were always challenging activities that required a...
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IRECA Scenario-Based Training

The International Rescue and Emergency Care Association (IRECA) will hold its annual conference and challenges in Houston Texas this year. Each year they put on challenges for 7-rescuer and 4-rescuer technical rescue teams as well as a BLS 3-rescuer teams. Participants come from various industrial settings, municipal agencies, and, in the youth division, some high school programs.    High school students?  Seventeen or 18-year-olds? Yes, students participate in the BLS challenge and serve as victims and organization volunteers for the technical rescue challenges during the week-long conference. In the BLS challenge, their teams compete beside the professional rescuers in the same scenarios and tests. While scored separately, they are scored against the same standards as the adults.   While some students come from explorer programs or other schools, most of the students come from a high school program called Opportunities in Emergency Care Association (OEC) in Spring Lake Park and Osseo, MN. The students train for a...
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IRECA Conference & Challenge in Houston

The International Rescue and Emergency Care Association (IRECA) will hold its annual conference and challenges in Houston Texas this year. Each year they put on challenges for 7-rescuer and 4-rescuer technical rescue teams as well as a BLS 3-rescuer teams. Participants come from various industrial settings, municipal agencies, and, in the youth division, some high school programs.    High school students?  Seventeen or 18-year-olds? Yes, students participate in the BLS challenge and serve as victims and organization volunteers for the technical rescue challenges during the week-long conference. In the BLS challenge, their teams compete beside the professional rescuers in the same scenarios and tests. While scored separately, they are scored against the same standards as the adults.   While some students come from explorer programs or other schools, most of the students come from a high school program called Opportunities in Emergency Care Association (OEC) in Spring Lake Park and Osseo, MN. The students train for a...
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