ERT practices in smoke and darkness
Ever tried to hook up a telephone in a dark and smoky room while wearing bulky gloves and a Dräger BG4 closed-circuit breathing apparatus? Members of the Emergency Response Team (ERT) did just that during two drills last week.
To test the team’s “fine motor skills,” ERT Coordinator Woody Hover used a Rosco 1500 fog machine filled with Froggy’s Fog fire-rescue smoke—adding an emergency ambience to two locations. The trainings were at the Homestake sawmill building last Wednesday and on Saturday in the basement of the Ross Dry building. “On Saturday it was smoky AND dark,” Hover said. “It was good.”
In addition to connecting two-wire Femco telephones, which can provide communications where radios can’t reach, ERT members also practiced tying knots, writing labels, connecting pipes, transferring fluids between containers and using tape to repair boxes—all while wearing bulky equipment in unfriendly environments. They also practiced treating a mannequin’s “lacerated” leg, and they set up a rescue-and-retrieval tripod that can provide a lifeline to vertically extract injured personnel from confined spaces.
The exercise was important, Hover said, because all those tasks are common to underground emergencies.
The Sanford Lab ERT has about 30 members. They include lab staff and personnel from local emergency-response organizations.