• December 12, 2018

Rescue, gas training in instructor’s repertoire - Odessa American: Features

Rescue, gas training in instructor’s repertoire

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Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2018 5:30 am

Different types of rescue and safety training are Dean McCann’s game.

A former Odessa Police Department detective, McCann now teaches people how to stay safe in the oilfield at Odessa College. He’s also an H2S master trainer, of which there are very few in the world.

“I started out ground level when I first started in industry I was making $16 an hour. And over time, I educated myself went to training classes not to sit idle. … I tell rescuers in class, and it’s a rule I live by, be better today that you were yesterday but not as good as you’ll be tomorrow,” McCann said.

He worked at Boots & Coots, a well control company, and Code Red Safety on the rescue side. McCann said he did safety work at Boots & Coots. Code Red hired him because of his background of being a rescue instructor.

“I’m actually a certified rescue instructor through a training provider (Rescue Training International). It’s not in-house. The certificate doesn’t come from the college. It actually comes from the training provider,” McCann said.

McCann, who has been at OC since September, provides industrial and rope rescue and teaches others to do the same. He also has conducted training for fire departments.

He said he’ll get on the ropes with his students while other instructors might not.

“That seems to mean a lot because it gives me credibility as an instructor if I can do what I’m wanting them to do,” McCann said.

Confined space rescue training gets people out of a vessel, like a tank or heater treater. Rope rescue training gets them from the top of the vessel down to the ground.

“It’s actually two separate blocks of training and that’s what we give,” McCann said.

The rope rescue class is 50 hours and the confined space rescue class is 60 hours if you don’t have a rope rescue certification.

One thing being worked on currently is to use the Emergency Services Technology Building at OC where the fire department used to train as a rope rescue training facility.

Various oil companies have donated vessels to use, McCann said. One is a three-phase separator with a fair market value of about $35,000 that is being donated to OC.

The fire department facility on South Dixie Boulevard also can be used for training.

“All it does at the end of the day is it gives the college a chance to train rescuers that are going to be coming out and working for the people who donated those vessels. It gives us a chance to train them good, so when they go out and work they’re getting the best that they’ve got. It’s a big partnership,” McCann said.

He also teaches people how to detect poisonous gas.

“Most average people can detect 13 one-hundredths of only 1 part per million of H2S. On the average, that’s not much. You could live and work in it every day for 30 years and it would never hurt you that low. But you’re going to be able to smell it. You’re going to know what you’re working in,” McCann said.

Some companies have in-house trainers that can conduct H2S training.

“Anything that’s organic in low-oxygen atmosphere can create hydrogen sulfide,” McCann said.

He added that the gas can still be dangerous in the open air. 

Monitors are required but anybody who has the potential of working in an H2S atmosphere is required to undergo training. The monitors vibrate when gas is present.

 “You have different exposure rates. You have acute toxicity high-dosage (for a) low amount of time, or chronic which is a low dose for a long amount of time,” McCann said.

“The designated lethal limit for H2S gas is 600 parts per million. It’s probably going to kill you, even if you get rescued. It stops red blood cells from taking oxygen to your brain. The more dosage you get, the quicker that is,” he added.

McCann said the gas can be filtered out with blood transfusions.

“People honestly don’t understand how bad that H2S can be. A lot of companies are strict. One of the strictest is Chevron. Companies now have very strict hiring policies. … You don’t want to be known as the company that has the lowest safety record. Companies that didn’t have such good records, they’re responding because people won’t call them. If they don’t call them, they won’t get work. They don’t get work, they don’t make money. They don’t make money, they’re out of business or they sell out to somebody else,” McCann said.

Louis Gonzalez, associate dean of the continuing education department, said feedback on McCann’s training courses has been very good. Those who have had him as an instructor have been very excited and said they learned much more than they bargained for.

“It’s been very positive students have been very positive about what they’ve learned. This is coming particularly from people in safety,” Gonzalez said.

Frank Mancha, service manager at DXP Safety Services, an oilfield service company, said they deal with H2S rescue operations, among other things. Mancha said McCann enhanced his employees’ knowledge.

“… They’ve loved it. He’s an awesome teacher. He explains everything well and has the patience to make sure you learn it the way he expects everyone to — to his standards. Everyone loves the class,” Mancha said.

He also found his workers were more confident after the course. After previous classes, employees didn’t necessarily retain what they learned.

“He (McCann) just grabbed them and they wanted to learn more and more. (They) just kept locked on everything he was teaching. They were wanting to go more and more and learn as much as he’s able to teach, pretty much,” Mancha said.

If a company would like to request a safety course, they may email safetytraining@odessa.edu or call the continuing education department at 432-335-6580.

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