The Confined Space Rescue Team trains regularly to stay proficient at its craft, which involves entering places with limited access to rescue workers who run into trouble.
Being overcome by fumes and vapors, falls and machinery malfunctions all can cause employees to find themselves in need of assistance, and the only way to get to them requires climbing a ladder or crawling through a small hole.
On April 16 and 17, Madison firefighters conducted confined space rescue training at the fire station and at the Candlewood Sewer Pump Station. Part of the training involved crawling through tubes installed by firefighters in the fire station to simulate a confined space rescue.
Madison Fire Chief Lou DeRosa said the tubes amount to a human-sized gerbil maze.
The Madison Sewer Department, Madison Electric Department, and the Madison/Chatham Joint Sewer Authority, Chatham Township Sewer and Colgate-Palmolive in Morris Township all count on Madison's team because all of those organizations require a designated confined space rescue team in order to operate under federal law, DeRosa said.
There were 23 firefighters who completed the training, including some new volunteer Madison firefighters and firefighters from Cedar Knolls.
DeRosa said Florham Park, Madison and Cedar Knolls all have confined space rescue teams, which serve as backups and resources for each other.