Friday, March 5, 2010

Training on the Trails

Lakeside: The Lakeside Fire District has a web of trails and recreational activity areas throughout most of the community. Used by everyone from horse enthusiasts, to hang glider pilots, these back country areas can pose a challenge for rescue crews when accidents happen. To maintain our preparedness for these types of incidents firefighters constantly have to practice skills used to extricate victims from an array of difficult terrains that we might encounter.

Firefighter-Paramedic Jose Corona reviews system hardware with other crew members.

Captain Chuck Palmore prepares a system used to lower rescuers down to a victim.

No two calls are ever the same when dealing with injured parties in the wilderness setting. Often the hardest phase of the rescue is simply locating the victim, whom is often confused as to their location, or they are simply overdue and we're looking in a massive area for the victim.

The the past Lakeside Firefighters have responded to stranded climbers in the El Capitan and El Monte Park areas, downed hang glider pilots in the Blossom Valley area, and multiple riders down from off-road and horse related incidents.  

Once located crews need to quickly access the victim and evaluate their injuries. Crews practice using anchoring systems out of objects commonly found in these very rural areas. The trick is to securely anchor the system and get a paramedic into the victim within minutes. Once the medic is with the patient definitive care can be administered while the rescue crew works on a method to extricate the victim.

Lakeside Firefighters Chris Williams, Steve Schleif, and Todd Welch prepare to be lowered into a remote location.

Lakeside Firefighters Danny Leetch, Chuck Palmore, and Steve Thompson being lowered into a ravine off Furnace Creek Rd

Typically firefighters are introduced to basic rope rescue techniques during their academy, but the techniques required to remove victims in wildness settings requires a whole new "skill set." Lakeside Fire requires all employees to attain these skills during their first three years of employment.

There are some specific things you can do to help us locate you in the back country.
  •      Let People Know Where you are Going: Let family members, friends, or co-workers know your plans. This should include:
    • Where you are departing from.
    • Where are you going.
    • When will you be back.
  •     Carry a Cell Phone: Unfortunately some of the more rural areas are out of the coverage area, but it's a good idea to carry a phone to make emergency calls. The other problem with cell phones is people lose orientation, and have difficulty describing their location to a 911 operator. Try to be aware of the areas you are in so that you can give specific information.
  •     Wear Clothing that is Easy to Spot: Most searches start with an aerial search of the area. Wear clothing that can been seen against the background of earth colors. 
  •     Be Prepared for Changing Conditions: Take warm clothing and water in case you become stranded for an extended period of time.

    Lakeside Fire Engineer Steve Schleif practices using "brush" as part of a complex anchoring system where the load is shared by many objects. Sometimes this is all we have!

    Submitted By: Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire Protection District

    No comments:

    Post a Comment