Selma firefighters conduct rope, harness trainingPublished 8:44am Thursday, April 4, 2013
Hunched over the steep river embankment at the end of Water Avenue, several members of the Selma Fire Department used all their strength to pull a victim to safety Wednesday morning. Thankfully, the victim was no more than a life-size dummy the department was using as part of a training exercise.
Since Monday, the Selma Fire Department has been carrying out several training exercises along the Alabama River in an effort to keep members prepared for the worst.
Assistant Fire Chief Mark Walker said these rope rescue exercises are just another way to keep everyone’s skills and preparedness on track.
“By using the rope, we’re able to hoist them up the bank,” Walker explained. “If there was a jumper off the bridge we would have to get them to the bank, or if a vehicle went off that embankment, that might be a reason to bring somebody up — it all depends on the situation.”
Using a series of ropes and harnesses, the fire department worked together to propel a member down the river embankment with a stretcher, which he then strapped the dummy into. Then, members pulled the firefighter and victim to safety.
Walker said the fire department has been executing the rope rescue exercise at several locations along the river since Monday.
“You have to stay familiar with these drills, that way when the time comes you know what to do,” he said, adding that all three shifts at the fire department have been participating in the exercises.
One incident that prompted the drills, Walker said, was when an individual jumped off the Edmund Pettus Bridge in early January. After the incident, Walker said it became a priority that all fire department members know what to do in such a situation.
“Whether it’s fire fighting or something else, we have to constantly train them to be able to do these different skills,” Walker said. “They’ve all agreed that this has been a great learning experience.”