The Times West Virginian

Local News

June 12, 2014

Firefighters train for real-life scenarios

FAIRMONT — From rescuing a hiker stranded on the wrong side of a flooded and rushing river to helping a bystander stuck on the floors above a structure fire, firefighters are often required to perform rescues that involve some element of height.

And on Wednesday, members of the Fairmont Fire Department practiced for potential rescue scenarios that would require them to be high above the ground.

Wednesday’s activity included a form of advanced rope training, said Fairmont Fire Capt. Mark Angelucci.

“This is a technical rescue where we are using high lines to extricate a patient,” Angelucci said. “We are simulating setting up high lines, possibly between two buildings or (over) a stream or river, to where we would need to go in and pick a patient (up) that’s in danger where there is no access to.”

Firefighters trained by hanging up ropes between a fire engine and a tree in an empty parking lot on Fairmont State University’s campus. A stokes basket was used to transport individuals across the parking lot, in the air, from the tree to the fire engine and back.

Angelucci explained that this training can be applied to rescues between high rises and over running water.

“We could actually have this line up ... (if) this would be the stream, we could pick (someone) out of the water,” he said. “This is one of the possibilities.”

The Fairmont Fire Department is responsible for rescues during different scenarios.

“In the city, we are the technical rescue team ... This is part of our training that we have to have in order to be able to provide all the services (we provide),” he said.

Firefighters often train for different scenarios. Angelucci said those scenarios are applicable on the job.

“We try to practice these scenarios once or twice a year through training,” he said. “Technically, when we are out on a job we use bits and pieces of this training for the other aspects of the job.”

Angelucci credited the new fire engine for allowing the firefighters to practice rescues.

“Our newer ladder truck makes it easier to perform these activities. So with the ropes (and) all the access points with this ladder and being this is a new truck, we can anchor to it,” he said. “So now that we’re getting advanced equipment, we can take the advanced training.”

Email Richard Babich at rbabich@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @rbabichTWV.

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