Paul Lamb, a trainer for Sensit Technologies of Valparaiso, Indiana, left, demonstrates a gas detection instrument for members of Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team at the Columbia Gas of Massachusetts maintenance depot in Easthampmton, August 15, 2014. Team members visible from left: team director William Selkirk, assistant chief, district two, South Hadley Fire Department, rescue technician Sandi Kraus, a firefighter with the Easthampton Fire Department, Chicopee Fire Department Captain David Beauregard, team assistant training and safety officer and Westfield Fire Department Captain Rebecca Boutin, team training and safety coordinator. (Michael S. Gordon / The Republican)
Published on MassLive.com
By George Graham | email@example.com
on August 15, 2014
Members of the Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue team are now better prepared to conduct confined space rescues thanks to to Columbia Gas of Massachusetts.
The company donated three natural gas combustible indicators – and provided the training to safely use them. Confined spaces pose can pose safety challengers to rescuers because they can contain hazardous materials in gas or liquid form. The donation of the state-of-the-art detectors, which monitor air for the displacement of oxygen and the presence of toxic or explosive gases, allows members of the team to perform an initial assessment of the air before they enter the confined space.
Andrea Luppi, manager of communications and community relations for Columbia Gas, said the Sensit Gold G2 detectors are valued at $1,500 apiece.“This is really great,” said William Selkirk, director of the Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team and assistant chief of the South Hadley District 2 Fire Department. “They are doing a great thing for us. It’s really a big deal.”
The team, which has about 80 members from fire departments across Western Massachusetts, formed about a year ago and has been operational since January. It is comprised of three separate units that serve Hampden, Berkshire and Hampshire/Franklin counties So far, team members have earned technical certification for high angle, steep slope and confined space rescue, said Westfield Fire Capt. Rebecca Boutin, who also serves as safety and training coordinator for the team.
The team has deployed five times and its work has included several rescues on Mount Skinner and aiding in the emergency response for a Vermont woman who lost her life while tubing in the Deerfield River in Conway. Selkirk said. Selkirk, Boutin and several firefighters from Holyoke and Chicopee received the indicators and a two-hour training in their use at the Columbia Gas facility on Industrial Parkway.