Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lakeside Firefighters Test Skills above El Capitan Reservoir

Peutz Valley: Lakeside Firefighters returned to a remote location to practice technical rescue scenarios. In this situation the crews from Rescue 3 (Lake Jennings Station) and Engine 26 (Blossom Valley) were given the task of accessing a 200' deep canyon, locating a victim and returning that victim to the roadway attached to lifelines. While normally these situations are pretty routine, in this situation crews were faced with nine foot high vegetation, and large crops of poison oak.

Firefighter Todd Welch checks the "self equalizing" anchoring system.
This rescue operation is commonly know as a "Pick Off". It requires a high degree of coordination between the rescuer in the canyon, and crews above that are responsible for the safe return of both parties. But crews are initially challenged by the lack of large anchoring points (areas we attach ropes to that can withstand the loads placed on them). In this situation crews developed a complex anchoring system that distributes the load to multiple points. The attachment points for this rescue were two mature sumac bushes.

A firefighter is lowered 200' to a victim below. Can you see the firefighter?
Another potential problem facing the firefighters is the possibility the victim may become panicked while being raised back up. Crews learn techniques that limits the potential for trouble in these situations. If not handled correctly the rescue can be defeated by the actions of the victim.

The firefighter and victim (in this case another firefighter) are raised back to the roadway.
Given the rugged terrain surrounding the community of Lakeside, crews practice these skills on a regular basis to stay proficient.

Firefighter-Paramedic Jose Corona and Firefighter-Paramedic Chris Williams are safely returned to the roadway after being drug through sumac and poison oak.

Submitted By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire District
Photos By: Fire Captain Chuck Palmore and Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire District

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