Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lakeside and CalFire Hold Joint Training in El Monte Valley

El Monte Valley: After weeks of training and pre-planning, firefighters were called out on a realistic training incident on the new El Monte Park Trail. Crews were dispatched when a recreational hiker called stating he had found a mountain bike on the trail and could hear calls for help from a canyon area.

Lakeside and CalFire personnel arrive at the incident and start the task of establishing a rope system.
 After making cell phone contact with the reporting party, it was determined that the patient would have to be accessed from the Creek Hills Rd trailhead. Initially, the firefighter-paramedics from Medic 3 were sent into the area as part of a FAST Team. It's their job to locate the victim, make requests for specific equipment, and initiate care.

Firefighter-Paramedic Chris Williams, Josh Wilson, and Jose Corona wait to be lowered into the canyon area.
Because the patient had left the trail and ended up in a canyon area, the decision was made to establish a rope system to retrieve the victim and bring him back to the trail for extraction. A team of rescuers departed the trailhead with the equipment necessary to complete the rescue. A combined crew of Lakeside Fire and CalFire personnel arrived in the area and quickly set-up a technical rope system.

Crews secure the patient to the stokes basket for the ascent back to the trail.
The victim was brought back to the trail where a wheel was attached to the stokes basket for the one-mile hike out through a series of switchbacks. Ultimately the objective was to bring the patient to El Monte Park for rendezvous with ground units. 

The patient and crew members are pulled back out of the canyon area.
After the patient was retrieved, crews began the long hike out to El Monte Park. The entire operation took about two hours to complete. While two hours sounds like a long time, logistically these incidents are quite complex and can literally take hours to complete.

Lakeside and CalFire crew members start the haul out of the victim. Once the victim had been removed from the canyon crews were able to quickly deliver him at the park.
This drill allowed firefighters the opportunity to work together in this remote locations. Additionally, new (aspiring) officers are given the opportunity to take command roles to prepare themselves for future promotions. Today's Incident Commander was Acting Captain Eric Stamm.

Participating units were Battalion 1, Rescue 3 and Medic 3 (Lake Jennings Station), Engine 1 (Riverview Station), and CalFire 3382 (Flinn Springs Station).

Submitted By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire District

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