Andrew Pollack's Blog

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RIT gets real, Summer comes to Maine, Lightning strikes at a bad time, and prepping for Las Vegas

By Andrew Pollack on 06/12/2005 at 09:33 PM EDT

Sorry for not writing sooner, its been a busy week. Aside from the regular client stuff, I've been working with Gab on our combined admin basics jump start for Vegas. I'm really looking forward to that. It should be a lot of fun. Had a good meeting in Portsmouth, NH with a big time software mogul to remain nameless. I hope we can put something together as that would be a good direction to go in for NCT's products.

Spring never did come to Maine. Instead, summer just dropped by. Its been 80's and humid. Last Saturday I spent all day replacing cedar fence posts around the pool so then on Sunday I could pull the cover and start getting the various chemicals balanced. This weekend was the first time we got to use it. Its always a ton of work to get the backyard in shape after a long winter, but the pool makes it worth it-- including the sunburn I got while fixing the wiring on the solar powered pump system I built for the slide so I could use warm pool water instead of icy water from the tap.

On a slightly more exciting front, Wednesday's RIT training got a little too real for a minute or two. Four of us from our RIT went to the next town over where they were doing a 'live fire' drill. We were there to stand by in case something happened (that's what RIT does). After they put out the last burn, the decided to give us a RIT drill. NFPA rules require that RIT drills not takes place during a live burn. This is because even the drills themselves are inherently dangerous. In any case, after the live burn was done, a call on the radio (with the clear indication that 'this is a drill') came that someone had gone missing inside. The four of us entered and headed for the sound of a PASS alarm. In heavy smoke, we descended a narrow staircase feet first, feeling for debris or holes in floor as we went, and found the 'down' man at the base of the stairs. Then things got real. I'll never know if one of the newbies from the other town got anxious or if it was just a result of the crowded situation, but our first indication of trouble came when we heard a yell that sounded like someone getting hurt -- without a mask. Nobody should have been in that building without a mask. The smoke was much lighter, but it was still not a safe place. In the confusion, someone had grabbed what he must have thought was a handrail and pulled. It wasn't a handrail, it was the low pressure line from one of our RIT member's mask. The mask and his helmet had been pulled from his head and he was pulled with them down the stairs. Remember, it was still dark and smokey. The minute we heard the yell, the lead guy on our RIT called out to cancel the drill, that we had an actual emergency. I got down on my knees and found the guy's face in my light and then found his mask and pressed it to his face. He probably didn't really need it in the light smoke, but my concern was that if he was hurt, he'd be there a while. There would be no reason to rush to pull him out until he was stable, since in fact he was not in any real danger. There was no fire, the house was stable, just dark. A few seconds later it was all over. The outside doors leading to our area (remember, its a training building we all know very well) were opened and we all made a safe exit within about a minute. Still, it shows you how things can go from routine to emergency in a half second.

Thursday night my oldest had a concert on the green at her school. She plays Sax, and has reached the end of her first year. It was everything you'd expect in a first year band concert. Then Friday night my two older daughters were in a play at the school. I saw the first 10 minutes then the big thunderstorms came through and I was called out to run with the Heavy Rescue and respond to one of the numerous incidents spawned by lightening strikes. I'll watch the rest on video. If you're not involved with Public Safety in one way or another, you probably don't realize what thunderstorms do in a town. We all sit them out, and they pass without incident 99% of the time. The problem is that 1%. In any town, that means all those one percents tend to add up. If a thunderstorm comes through, you can count on alarms going off, power surges, and often one or more small fires. Its fun, we all get to play and usually nobody gets hurt. Bad timing for this one though. -2 points to that dad.

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Similar experience with RITBy Alex Wilson on 06/13/2005 at 04:10 PM EDT
We were practicing RIT the other night as part of our Essentials class. One of
the Juniors was going through a hole in the wall (air pack off and in front of
him). The house was completely smoked up (love burnt wet straw).

Well, he pushed his air pack out and someone walking in the hall on the other
side of the wall didn't see him or the pack and kicked the air pack right down
the stairs. It pulled his mask off the front of his face, plus with the weight
of his pack down the steps, he couldn't hold his mask against his face because
his hands were somewhat trapped by the hole... this almost became one of those
"oh crap" moments.

The weight of it pulled his mask off the rest of the way and it slid right out
from under his helmet. Well, his air pack then went right down the steps the
rest of the way. My partner started sharing his mask with him while I made a
hasty ventilation so we could move him to fresh air.

After we got him some fresh air, someone was able to retrieve his airpack from
the basement. We got him suited back up and out of the house in one piece.
Tough kid... 14 years old and went right back in a few minutes later because he
wanted to finish the exercise. Love these country boys!

Tonight more fun ensues... vehicle rescue. Time to play with the Amkus tools
and rip apart perfectly defenseless metal and plastic.
it goes that way...By Andrew Pollack on 06/13/2005 at 04:51 PM EDT
if you ever get the chance to take Dave Carter's "Get out alive" class, one
thing you learn to do is get through those 16" on center studs quickly without
removing your pack (which sounds impossible, but is easy once you see how).
That class included two full days of blindfolded crawling around an old mill.
Oh joy.

Enjoy the mechanical extrication course. Its always a good time. "Don't
remove the patient from the car, remove the car from the patient."


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