On 23 April Dandenong Fire Brigade was called to help rescue a kitten that had become trapped inside a storm water drain in Dandenong.
With the local council and RSPCA unable to assist due to the nature of the so Dandenong brigade's technical rescue crew attended.
The specially trained rescue crew assessed the scene and used specialised atmospheric monitoring equipment to ensure the drainage network was safe to enter without the need for breathing apparatus.
Incident Controller SSO Brad Harker said the rescue wasn't easy.
“It can never be assumed that any drain is free from noxious gases or has sufficient oxygen to support human life,” Brad said.
Due to the complexity and depth of the vertical shaft a ‘high directional’ frame was set up to ensure a safe entry and retrieval could be made.
Leading Firefighter Matt Lawrence was lowered into the drain and searched for the kitten which could be heard meowing from above.
Heavy rain was forecast for the evening and overnight, so time was of the essence to ensure the safety of the kitten.
Entering any confined space is not without risk, so it's crucial that only appropriately qualified personnel (who can assess the scene and make safe entry and exit) take part.
Thorough documented risk assessment, standby crews, continual atmospheric monitoring and an incident management structure are imperative to the successful and safe response to any confined space rescue.
Victoria Police, and additional CFA crews from Dandenong and Hallam Hazmat also attended the rescue.
The owner is attending the Dandenong Council to be reunited with their kitten.