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WET Students Get Certified

Friday, June 28, 2013
By Eladio Jaimez

WETStudents from the Wind Energy Technology (WET) program at Texas State Technical College Harlingen and the Ingleside Renewable Energy Center received ENSA Safety and Rescue Certification all week at the Harlingen campus.

A re-certification is required every two years and only students in their third semester receive the training, according to WET Program Director George Lister.

Lister added that the training isn’t a requirement for completion of the course but is provided to the students in order to help them land a job quicker after graduation.

“This training goes above and beyond the curriculum,” Lister said. “This is an industry certification and it makes students more attractive to employers if they have this high-level certification.”

The training was conducted inside the future home of the Engineering Department, a warehouse adjacent to Valley International Airport formerly owned by United Launch Alliance. The giant warehouse will eventually be home to the WET Program.

Students were divided into groups of six with the Ingleside group training on Tuesday and Wednesday. The students from Harlingen trained on Thursday and Friday. On Monday, all 21 students attended an eight-hour lecture.

John Bernshausen, from the Ingleside group, called the training “invaluable.”

“It helps put things into perspective,” Bernshausen said. “It helps you build up that confidence you need just in case something goes wrong up there. You learn to trust your equipment.”

TSTC West Texas rescue instructor Tad Baird was on hand to provide the training to the students. The trainees went through proper procedure in the rescue of coworkers that might experience an accident while working on a wind turbine 30 stories high, including how to bring a limp body back to the ground.

“EMS (personnel) isn’t usually trained in tower rescue,” Lister said. “And besides, most wind turbines are in remote locations so there’s no time to wait for EMS. These guys initiate the rescue operations and they’ll bring an individual down by the time the EMS gets there.”

All WET graduates are also CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and AED (Automatic External Defibrillators) certified.

“We’re in the power-generating business so electrical safety is a big issue,” Lister said. “Our training is in compliance and exceeds OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requirements. We’re prepared for working at height.”

For more information on the WET program go to http://www.tstc.edu/harlingenwindtech.

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