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Confined Space Training: Coming out of the Classroom and into the Simulator

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Story by LCpl Piper Ballantine on 07/17/2019
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va.- Marine Corps Base Quantico's (MCBQ) Safety Division personnel were awarded a letter of appreciation and challenge coin, July 10, from MCBQ's senior leaders, Col. William C. Bentley III, and Sgt. Maj. Michael Hensley, for their efforts in the funding and construction of the Confined Space Training simulator.

Kurt Vimont, base safety director, played a big part in the construction of The Confined Space Training, a simulator used for firefighters and safety agencies who conduct rescue operations that involve fires, hazardous wastes, and chemicals.

Vimont describes his team's goal, saying, "We set out on a mission to make sure folks that are in confined spaces and fall protection scenery, get the proper training."

Kevin Prien, Quantico's confined space manager, worked alongside Vimont throughout the construction of the training simulator.

The process for obtaining the structure was a slow and steady process that started in 2013. Prien describes, "It's taken a little over five years of planning and trying to find the money to construct everything."

Funding for the Confined Space Training ultimately came through the Commandant's Innovation Challenge, a program that gives Marines and DoD civilians the chance to present ideas that will help improve the Marine Corps.

Prien says before all the funding, training was done in a classroom by PowerPoint and lecture, which took approximately 4-8 hrs. Individuals can now get hands-on practice with training that is needed to perform accurately in any life or death scenario: lockout-tagout, risk assessment planning, implementing controls, and selecting equipment for the mission.

Sgt. Maj. Michael Hensley, MCBQ sergeant major, has given endless support to the gentlemen who created the structure.

Hensley believes individuals already work in a dangerous enough field, and wants applicants to have the necessary tools needed to train the Marines and civilians correctly.

"Safety is paramount," he says. "Any money spent is well worth it."


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