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I am looking for any help in devolping a rescue course for Wind turbines. We are seeing a lot of them in Wisconsin. I have a builder that is telling me there are no confined spaces in the wind turbine and that for rescue we can use the hoist system that in built inside the tower. I have a problum with both of these items. Is any one aware of a OSHA our NFPA standerd that deals with this?

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Dennis,
Rescues for Wind Turbine can be quite difficult. Especially for the FF/Rescuers. There are several thing one needs to be aware of when working in wind turbines;
1. It's about a 300' climb to the top, so the FF should be prepared. Not all turbines have elevators or assist systems installer and/or working. There is an issue with FF exhaustion and a fear of heights!!
2. There ARE confined spaces in wind turbines.
3. There are hazardous materials present, such as hydraulic oil, gear oil, ELECTRICITY, moving parts, etc. One should have a turbine technician or Lead Tech present during the rescue for quick reference on the machine. I would highly recommend allowing the on site technicians to be up tower with you. Not only guide you, but you will need help as well.
4. In the case of lowering your patient down, you might have AT LEAST 600' of rope. The chain hoist installed IS NOT my preferred method of rescue. These devices DO break down on a regular basis, and I have seen with my own eyes one of these chains break during use!!! These chain hoist don't have the Safety Factor built in like the equipment we use in the fire service!! These Turbines do have an escape system for workers. They differ from maker to maker, but generally are pretty good systems. I have used some of these and they are trustworthy.
5. There are great anchoring points everywhere inside the turbine.
6. If rescuing inside the tower, I recommend a back board tied from top end for sure. The holes between floors can be quite small. Again, lots of rope will be needed. And too, there are generally good anchor points throughout the tower.
7. Keep in mind, Suspension Trauma!! These guys will probably be hanging in any position waiting on you. So the proficient knowledge of "One man Pick off" is an absolute. We have to get them at least relieved from that dangerous position quickly.
8. If there is a chance of you responding to one of these, I highly recommend that you get some good ropes training, and not just the basic class either.

This is a quick and very brief overview. I hope this helps out some Dennis, maybe you will be able to take some of my ideas, and the ideas of others and create a Safe and Effective Rescue Plan for Wind Turbines. If you have any questions, please let me know. I have some pretty good experience working as a Safety Coordinator on Wind Farms, and as a FF for just over 20 years. I'd be glad to help my brothers at any time.

Kyle and everybody else,

Your comments are very enlightening. In the April print issue of FIRE ENGINEERING the article based on the Navarra, Spain SOP will be published. It is not complete nor does it cover everything, but it's a starter. I hope this subject will draw even more participation and I look forward to helping anyone who needs anything. My e.mail is georgepot@gmail.com and I welcome contacts.

Hi Dennis,

This is a fairly old thread but looks like it is still alive. We were looking at developing the same type of program at Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan. We created a partnership with Safety Technology USA for Competent Climber and Tower Rescue. Safety Technology is a UK company and the program is RenewableUK accredited. I would love to talk to you about bringing our course to you through a partnership. No sense reinventing the wheel! The certification is valid for 2 years although we recommend a one year refresher course.

 

Hey over there,

It's good to see some interest. We will be holding a HOT session on wind turbine rescue ops during the forthcomming Spanish Firefighters Congress in Toledo, Spain October 19th thru 21st. As many of you may know, Spain is one of the world's leaders in wind energy technology and number of wind farms. There are several enterprises here with knowhow and experience in wind turbine rescue, and several fire departments have very qualified personnel. As I said before, if anyone needs help or info, my e.mail is above. Somebody should propose this as a HOT session at FDIC. Keep safe everybody.

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