Working on an object nearly 30 stories high can be a harrowing experience for anyone. For the crews that maintain the wind turbines in southeastern Colorado maintaining a safe working environment is paramount.
At the Colorado Green Green wind farm south of Lamar, in the rare case of an accident or medical emergency, crew members are trained to help with the extraction of the injured person off the tower said site Safety Coordinator Jim Gill. “Everybody that comes on site and does tower climbing receives rescue training,” Gill aid.
Members of the Lamar Fire and Ambulance Department recently toured the Colorado Green site in an effort to better understand potential risks when assisting with a rescue at the site. Fire Chief Marshal Cook said the tour was a “very eye opening experience.”
He said one of the prevailing themes from the tour was the necessity of emergency personnel to be in top physical condition when attempting a rescue from a turbine tower. Cook said the rescue personnel have to climb over two hundred feet of stairs with equipment to reach the top of the towers, an exercise that can tire many rescuers and potentially detract from their ability to adequately perform their duties.
Several department members scaled the inside of the tower during the tour, exiting the top of the turbine. While inside and on top of the massive structures, the department members familiarized themselves with potential hazards as well as potential hook up points that could be used to rappel from the towers.
Gill said the fire department was invited for the tour because of their expertise in accident and critical care situations. He said the Colorado Green staff is well trained in rescues and extrications, but are relative novices concerning medical emergencies.
“All guys are trained as far as counter rescue, but nothing beyond first aid,” Gill said.
Cook said he was very impressed with the safety policies in place at the site. The fire department is scheduled to produce a power point presentation based on their tour that can be shown to all the department members concerning rescue operations in and around wind turbines.
Ledger Staff Writer
10 April 2008
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