Did you know there are more than 200 towers in Western Massachusetts dedicated to communications infrastructure along? This does not includes structures for power lines, water storage or wind turbines - and industry analysts are optimistic that there will be more towers built over the coming decade to support the increasing demand for communications and energy around the region. These towers require maintenance which means technicians will be operating at height in sometimes remote locations. In the past 10 years, there have been nearly 100 fatal accidents by tower technicians in the U.S..
The Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team has been training for these possibilities for more than two years and has drilled on multiple sites around region in preparation for operating in this unique and dangerous environment.
Setting up typical rope systems for lifting and lowering of equipment, technicians and victims is further complicated by hazards such as high voltage lines.
WMTRT Rescue Technicians have a foundation built on basic principles of traditional climbing techniques, fall protection, knots and ropes, and personal protective equipment such as helmets and harnesses, and become very familiar with all equipment in the cache.
Hazards unique to the tower rescue environment include exposure to radio frequencies, and working in proximity to high tension electrical lines. WMTRT technicians must also be aware of situations that tower workers may be especially prone to such as suspension trauma, an effect which occurs when the human body is held upright without any movement for a period of time.
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