top of page

Confined Space Series - What Equipment to Use/What Must Be Considered When Planning a Rescue Team

Selecting the right equipment for use in a rescue team is critical. Although it is better to have too much equipment, consideration should be made not to over-complicate the rescue if possible.

Rescue Team Planning

Planning a Rescue Team Below we have expanded on the points listed in ACOP L101 96.

Rescue and resuscitation equipment:

  • Breathing Apparatus – usually Self-Contained BA is considered the minimum requirement of a standby rescue team. Where the access/ egress may be particularly tight or extended duration may be required, potentially consider an Airline BA System*.

  • Entry Control – have a simple system in place as this is essential for when an incident occurs.

  • Communications – verbal, radios, hard-line communication system.

  • Stretchers – usually determined by nature of the entry but a roll-up stretcher with lifting points is most commonly used.

  • Gas Detection – Although the team would usually be wearing Breathing Apparatus, the atmosphere would still need to be monitored.

  • Lighting – Again Intrinsically Safe Head-torches are usually part of the basic kit as both hands need to be free and lighting can’t always be guaranteed.

  • Defibrillator / Resuscitator / First Aid Kit – Size of the kit needed will depend on number of entrants and the scale of the job.

  • Access/ Egress Equipment – Depending on the access could include: Tripods, Winches, Ladders, Rope Access equipment.

  • Signage/ Barriers as required.

*To note – Airline systems are great to use if possible, but could cause entanglement and the entrants would have to retrace the same route back to the entrance without any shortcuts.

Raising the alarm and rescue Alarms can include anything from a call of help, a physical alarm or some form of communication to notify the relevant people that something isn’t right. Also need to consider the process of raising the alarm with the top man, the standby members and then anyone relevant onsite and/ or the emergency services.

Safeguarding the rescuers PPE – All standard PPE should be utilised including anything specific for the site/ job being carried out. Additional medical gloves for dealing with potential causalities as well as safety gloves.

Sufficient facilities for personnel as the nature of the job means that rescue team members are often exposed to varying weather conditions and need to possibly consider decontamination if applicable.

Fire safety Controls should be put into place to prevent any risk of fire as this can seriously jeopardise any form of rescue.

Control of plant Not only the plant that may be being worked on, but other equipment/ operations nearby may need isolating to safeguard a rescue operation.

First Aid/ Defibrillation / Resuscitation Suitable equipment should be available as listed above as well as casualty care/ immobilisation equipment

Public Emergency Services Depending on the job, it may be worth notifying the emergency services (however this isn’t a legal requirement). Make sure that there are clear limitations for the response times and equipment that may be required.

Training It is essential that all rescue teams are not only trained and competent for use of all the equipment they have available, including Breathing Apparatus/ AED/Defibrillators, but also regularly drilled ideally as the teams they work in.

Documentation Standby rescue teams should clearly understand all potential hazards identified within the RAMS and the way the work will be carried out. We would also recommend that an Event Log is maintained throughout the job with timings of any specific events.


bottom of page