Tuesday, May 18, 2010

High Angle Rescue Training

Firefighters train in high angle techniques.

 Even though there are few high-rise buildings in the East County, the Lakeside Fire Department requires that all firefighters be trained in some basic high angle rescue techniques. Aside from the rare emergency incident involving a tall building rescue in a neighboring agency, the same equipment and techniques are required for any situation where one might come in contact with a sheer vertical drop. A few such possibilities in or close to Lakeside include, bridges, sheer roadside drop-offs, rock climbing sites and power line towers. Since these incidents are so few and far between and the penalty for a mistake is so great, refresher training is a must to remain proficient in this highly technical skill.

Firefighter/Paramedic Danny Leetch looks calm checking his rigging high above the concrete.
This recent training was conducted at the Tom Owens Training Facility (TOTF) in El Cajon. The five story training tower is used to provide a realistic atmosphere to practice . One of the key safety features at the tower is a fall arresting net placed below the rope rescue side of the building. Although the net might look soft and safe from the ground, it looses much of it's comforting appeal from over 60' in the air. In fact, in the event of a fall, chances of death are reduced but serious injury is still likely.

Leetch evaluates his incapacitated victim under the watchful eye of Captain Beto Lawler. 

This drill was conducted to simulate a high angle rescue where an individual has become incapacitated or had an equipment failure requiring a rescuer to be lowered down to his position for assistance. Once in place, the rescuer is required to evaluate and secure the individual and then transfer him onto his own rescue rope system and both are lowered to safety. There are many steps, people and equipment involved in this process which needs to be coordinated and accomplished in a very specific order to result in a safe and successful outcome.

Secured to his rescue system, Leetch removes Captain Chuck Palmore from the damaged line.

Submitted by: Chuck Palmore, Lakeside Fire Captain
Photos by: Battalion Chief Brent Larkin and Engineer Rich Smith

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting these articles and pictures. Most people take our Emergency workers for granted, and don't realize what a tough job it really is.

    Lakeside is lucky to have a great Fire Department that keeps themselves well-trained. Thank you!