The department maintains a complete cache of rope rescue equipment on HR2 (Heavy Rescue vehicle) to perform any high angle, low angle, swift water, or confined space rescue. The department has approximately 30 trained high angle rope rescue technicians assigned to each of the three shifts.
A trench is defined by OSHA as an excavation that is deeper than it is wide. Workers could be covered or trapped if a cave-in occurs. The department has trained technicians ready to respond with a specially equipped trailer complete with pneumatic struts, manual shores and heavy lumber, sheeting, and equipment to construct a shoring system to protect the victims and crews working in the trench.
Surface Water and Ice Rescue
Each fire station maintains a boat equipped to make water rescues. When a request for response is received, the on-duty fire crew brings the boat to the scene with the fire engine. In addition, each fire engine has a cold water emersion suit to protect the rescuer from the frigid water during an ice rescue. Also responding are a paramedic ambulance, additional rescue boats, and the battalion chief. Station 2—located near the confluences of the Chippewa and Eau Claire Rivers—has additional water rescue capabilities with the use of a rigid inflatable boat and a rapid deployable craft.
The dive rescue team was established in 1984 and is comprised of 12 to 16 certified divers. Each of the divers is trained in advanced open water and ice diver. The team is equipped with full-face masks that allow verbal communications with other divers and the incident commander on the surface. The communication increases safety and improves the efficiency of the divers. Confined Space Rescue
OSHA estimates that 53 fatalities and approximately 10,700 injuries could be prevented each year if competent and comprehensive confined space entry programs were implemented. These entry programs must educate employees and rescuers to the unique hazards of asphyxiation, entrapment, and exposure to toxic atmospheres.
Statistics show that 60% of all fatalities in confined spaces are the rescuers. Eau Claire Fire & Rescue is committed to adequately training and equipping all members in performing rescues safely. Members of the department are trained to safely and effectively enter spaces such as boilers, underground lift stations, sewers, and above- and below-ground storage tanks to perform a rescue. The department’s confined space rescue program was developed with, and personnel train alongside, many in the local industry to comply with the rescue requirements of OSHA standards 29 CFR 1910.146 and ILHR Chapter 32, sub-chapter VI.