Thursday, May 6, 2010

River Safety for 560 Main Street

Yesterday, May 5, Platoon 4 (Captain Card) used a "Line gun" to fire a rope across the Willimantic River behind 560 Main Street. See the aerial view here. (Google Maps has the address as 490 Main Street). Here's the assessor's card.

As you may or may not know, the building is under renovations into one and two bedroom apartments. The construction crews are working on engineered scaffolding on the South side of the building--over the river. With such an operation, there's a slight chance a worker may fall into the river--if redundant layers of safety fail.

With concerns for worker safety, the contractor contacted the Willimantic FD and asked for help creating a safety plan. We toured the site and made recommendations. After receiving OSHA's blessing, it was time time to implement the plan. One of the components is a floating safety line across the river.

As mentioned previously, the department used an actual gun to send a projectile carrying a line across the river! In the pictures above, firefighters have the floating line across, and are getting ready to secure it.

As another safety measure, the department evaluated "put-in" points for the inflatable zodiac rescue boat, and found few suitable spots. Timeliness is the largest factor, so the contractor decided to purchase a sit-on-top kayak for us to use to rapidly access a floating victim. Our members will carry a retrieval line to a floating victim, tether him/her, and the shore based crews will pull the victim to the shore.

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