The best way to progress in any discipline is practice. However, if restraints are put on the ability to practice a skill, it will cause even the best to get rusty in their chosen field.
This issue is faced by any sports team with limited field time, students waiting for practicum hours during a course, and most definitely by emergency standby rescue workers. A good way to learn is by studying the solutions used by others in a similar situation.
Someone who came across this type of situation on a regular basis was stunt man Evel Knievel. His dilemma was unique in the sense that it was far too dangerous to “practice” jumping over cars and buildings until you get it right. His stunts were a one shot deal.
Evel resorted to meticulous preparations for each and every jump he attempted, planning the speed of his approach, the angle of the take-off ramp and the distance he had to cover. During one such jump on June 6, 1966 over 12 cars and a van in Montana, Evel knew he needed to be at an exact speed to make the landing ramp. On his high-speed practice runs Evel would look at his speedometer to ensure he was at exactly the right speed.
The issue he found was that the speedometer attached to the rear wheel of his motor cycle lost accuracy as he lost traction on the gravel. As he applied the throttle, this inaccuracy caused him to come up short on the landing ramp. One potential solution he and his team decided was to do jumps by feel alone, without the speedometer.
Although Evel was very talented and trusted his gut, this is clearly not a safe tactic for judging speed. Knowing this, future motorcycle jumpers use a second speed gauge attached at the front wheel. When both gauges show the correct speed, the speed is assured to be accurate.
This problem with not having the ability to practice their trade is faced by most rope rescue teams, especially those operating in the oil and gas sector where emergency calls requiring ropes are rare. How do you get better at performing a high hazard rescue when you rarely use these skills?
What we learn from Evel is that painstaking planning, preparation and practice runs to find the smallest unforeseen issues are the things that could be the difference between succeeding at a rescue, or making it a complete disaster.
As I interact with rescue teams from around the industry, I always try to demonstrate the importance of pre-planning and practice. Emergency situations happen infrequently, but the cost of coming up short when performing a rescue is far greater than we can afford.
To learn more about emergency standby rescue services at oil & gas sites, please contact us at 1 (780) 819-8027 or firstname.lastname@example.org.