entry into such a compartment to perform a job that can
be done quickly (such as to close a valve, secure a fan,
or de-energize a circuit). However, they provide only
limited protection against smoke. The length of time
you can remain in a smoke-filled compartment
depends on the type of smoke and its concentration.
The most important thing to remember about
protective masks is that they do not manufacture or
supply oxygen. They merely filter the air as it passes
through the canister.
The lifeline is a steel-wire cable, 50 feet long.
Each end is equipped with a strong hook that closes
with a snap catch. The line is very pliable and will slide
freely around obstructions. See figure 325.
Lifelines are used as a precautionary measure to
aid in the rescue of persons wearing rescue breathing
apparatus, hose masks, or similar equipment. Rescue,
if necessary should be accomplished by having another
person equipped with a breathing apparatus follow the
lifeline to the person being rescued, rather than by
attempting to drag the person out. Attempts to drag a
person from a space may result in fouling the lifeline
on some obstruction or in parting the harness, in which
case it would still be necessary to send a rescue person
into the space.
An important point to remember is that a stricken
person must never be hauled by a lifeline attached to
the waist. The victim may be dragged along the deck a
short distance, but his weight must never be suspended
on a line attached to the waist. If not wearing a harness
of some kind, pass the line around the chest under the
armpits and fasten it in front or in back.
When tending a lifeline, you must wear gloves to
be able to handle the line properly. Play out the line
carefully to keep it from fouling. Try to keep the
lifeline in contact with grounded metal; do not allow it
to come in contact with any energized electrical
The detection devices used to test the atmosphere
in closed or poorly ventilated spaces include the
oxygen indicator, for detecting oxygen deficiency;
combustible-gas indicators, for determining the
concentration of explosive vapors; and toxic-gas
indicators, such as the carbon monoxide indicator,
for finding the concentration of certain poisonous
gases. The devices are extremely valuable and should
be used whenever necessary. However, they MUST
BE USED ONLY AS DIRECTED.
operation of these devices may lead to false assurances
of safety or, worse yet, to an increase in the actual
danger of the situation. For example, the use of a flame
safety lamp in a compartment filled with acetylene or
hydrogen could cause a violent explosion.
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Recognize the
phases of rescue operations and the stages of
If you are faced with the problem of rescuing a
person threatened by fire, explosive or poisonous
gases, or some other emergency, do not take any action
until you have had time to determine the extent of the
danger and your ability to cope with it. In a large
number of accidents, the rescuer rushes in and
becomes the second victim. Do not take unnecessary
chances! Do not attempt any rescue that needlessly
endangers your own life!
Phases of Rescue Operations
In disasters where there are multiple patients (as in
explosions or ship collisions), rescue operations
should be performed in phases. These rescue phases
apply only to extrication operations.
The first phase is to remove lightly pinned
casualties, such as those who can be freed by lifting
boxes or removing a small amount of debris.
Figure 325.Steel wire lifeline.