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This section, in the first instance, is applicable to those who become a rescue team in order to deal with an emergency. However, we will at some point make reference to how you work out, at what point you do your own rescue and planning, to when you need a dedicated team to be actually on site. Now, there are many situations where an emergency rescue may need to be initiated. For example, a medical emergency, it could be an accident internally, even externally. The gas alarm might go off or equipment failure. For example, communications or power failure, where your emergency plan might say, "Because of these events you need to evacuate that particular confined space." But what about the rescue team itself? If it is you are going to bring a rescue team on site, what do they need to do to be compliant?

Well, the Approved Code of Practice of 2014 gave an important update on the expectations and standards of a rescue team. What it starts off with is encouraging and ensuring that once we have done our initial plan, it is not just about getting the person out, but it is also ensuring that we have the necessary equipment to do a resuscitation. Now, it does break down each of the subjects. Let us go through those subjects. First of all, rescue and resuscitation equipment, raising the alarm and rescue, safeguarding the rescuers, fire safety, control of plant, first aid, the public emergency services, and training. What rescue and resuscitation equipment do we need? Well, the documents states we should have lifelines and lifting equipment, maybe additional sets of breathing apparatus, but first aid equipment including an automatic external defibrillator, and any other resuscitation equipment. We need to make sure there is a way of communicating with all those in the confined space with an agreed procedure of raising the alarm in the emergency. That might include the use of air horns or just radios or some other means of communication to ensure they can hear in the emergency.

Moving onto safeguarding the rescuers. It is important that as a rescue team there are going to be potential dangers to ourselves. We need to stop and do a dynamic risk assessment. We need to ensure it is safe for us to enter that confined space even in a rescue. It may be beyond our capabilities, in which case, we then call the emergency services. Now, regulation just states there must be an entry point extinguisher, it does not tell you which one, but we are going to be quite limited. If we were to consider closely what extinguishers that are available to us, there is quite a range. Water, foam, CO2, powder, mechanical, even a fire blanket. But you can not use any in a confined space, we are limited to a water extinguisher. Water extinguisher puts out an A class fire, what we call free burning materials, but we can not use it on combustible liquids, and we can not use it on electrical items.

Then we have got the foam extinguisher that does both a class A and a class B. Now, class B is flammable liquids. But again, we can not use it on electrical items. So we are limited to only these two extinguishes, because it is not recommended they use either powder or a CO2 in a confined space. One, because powder creates this massive cloud, and it would be difficult to get out. CO2 removes oxygen. Again, in a confined space, we do not want to be using that. So we need to ensure that, at the very least, we have an entry point extinguisher, which will either be a water or a foam one.

Some sites, particularly large sites, we need to plan in the ability to shut down certain equipment; it may impede the emergency rescue, and therefore, a written procedure in place to ensure all plant is shut down needs to be done. What level of first aid do we need? Well, it does not state, it just says it is what is appropriate, including equipment to deal with an emergency. Here in the UK, there are two levels of first aid: The Emergency First Aid course, a one day course, or the First Aid at Work, which is a three-day course or the two-day refresher. But it is based upon a risk assessment deciding on the potential injuries, and the first aiders need to be trained to deal with those foreseeable injuries.

What about the public emergency services? We still have a duty in the event of an emergency to dial 999 and call them out, however, there could be a time delay. We need to keep in mind that a confined space rescue team by the public emergency services is viewed as a specialist; they are a technical rescue, it is not standard practice. So for example, a county might have 20 or 30 stations. Out of those stations, maybe only two or three will do the confined space rescue. So it is important for the safety attendant, that if he does dial 999, he confirms it is a confined space incident so the right team does come out. But in the meantime, it clearly states in the Approved Code of Practice, that it is the employer who must put in place an adequate arrangement before the work commences. It is his responsibility to sort out a rescue plan.

Let us now move on to the training of the rescue team. It states they must be trained for that purpose. The training will always vary according to each of their designated roles. But it does recommend they should receive refresher training, for example, annually. And that training will include rehearsals, exercises, using a full weight dummy. We need to incorporate all the equipment that could be used in a rescue situation. And finally, on the training, it states that regulated qualifications in emergency rescue and casualty recovery from confined space are available. Now, they are available through awarding bodies. That really does show how important, that the people who are doing the rescue are qualified to do so. Always check if you use a rescue team that they are qualified to do so.