Confined space excercises familiarize staff for scenarios: city

Cory Hurley
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CORNER BROOK  If city employees encounter an emergency when working in an underground, confined space, the response could be significant in saving lives.

That is why operational services staff and city firefighters were teaming up for training exercises in Corner Brook Tuesday.

“The purpose of these exercises is to run through a few different scenarios and make sure both our workers and the firefighter department are comfortable with what they could encounter if they were called to an actual emergency,” Rayna Luther, assistant director of operational services, said.

There were two rescue scenarios at the pressure-reducing valve station in the parking lot of Colemans on O’Connell Drive, both involving emergency medical situations with water and sewer employees working inside the underground station.

Firefighters — who are on call when city employees are working within the water or sewer pressure-reduced valve stations throughout the city — responded to the mock emergencies. The crews set up lift apparatuses to raise the “victim” out of the station.

Public works employees observed the rescues, receiving information from the firefighters on how exactly they would deal with such situations if they were to actually take place.

Despite workers entering these stations on a daily basis, Luther said there has not been a need for such a rescue. However, it is important to be proactive.

“We would rather identify any issues now as opposed to an actual emergency, so you can never do enough training,” she said.

Luther said there would be a debriefing after to review how the exercise went, and whether any adjustments were necessary. She watched the first scenario unfold, and felt it went well.

The training is expected to continue Friday morning.

“Everybody worked well together, and everybody understands the importance and the need for it,” she said.

Geographic location: CORNER BROOK

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