Firefighters reach for high efficiency

10 May 2012 | Lance Cpl. Kris Daberkoe

Over 20 emergency ser­vice personnel rushed to the scene of a mock medi­cal emergency during a high angle rescue drill near the flightline aboard the Air Station, May 1.

The annual drill was de­signed to refresh firefight­ers, emergency medical technicians and paramed­ics on how to perform rescue operations in hard to reach places at impres­sive heights.

“This drill was meant to shake off any rust from our firefighters’ skills,” said Darran Vaughn, Air Station structural fire de­partment assistant fire chief. “You never know when these skills are go­ing to come in to play, but when we are needed to perform a rescue high above the ground we are ready.”

Emergency service per­sonnel prepare for pos­sible crisis scenarios such as when base personnel lose consciousness high above the ground.

During a high angle res­cue, emergency personnel assess all routes to the pa­tient. The lead firefighter then organizes a response by cordoning off the area from any onlookers and deciding which route is the best to take.

“While performing a high angle rescue, emer­gency personnel must consider how to perform first aid treatment while getting the patient down from an elevated struc­ture,” said Franklin Ram­seur, an Air Station struc­tural fire department lead firefighter.

After the firefighters de­termine the best route for medical response team to reach and provide first aid to the patient, they then begin hoisting any cum­bersome medical equip­ment to the treatment area.

“We are fortunate our ladder is able to reach the victim, if not then we have to use a lot of rope and rigging systems to reach the victim or victims,” said Ramseur. “When we are trying to mitigate the problem, we look at how we are going to access the problem, what rescourses we have to mitigate the problem and how we are going to do it safely.”

After a patient is down from the elevated struc­ture paramedics and their vehicles transport the patient to a local medical facility for further treat­ment.

“Any mistakes made were part of the learning experience and practicing the techniques, so when a real high angle crisis oc­curs we will be ready for it,” Vaughn said.