WINCHESTER — Drivers veer off banks and hikers fall off cliffs and firefighters are expected to do something about it.
Douglas County Fire District No. 2 firefighters Wednesday practiced for such calls.
Three at a time, they rappelled down a steep embankment near Winchester Dam to practice rescuing an injured victim.
Firefighters worked together to get down the hill and pull the victim to safety with ropes and pulleys, without making the injuries worse.
The district’s technical rescue team oversaw the training of other firefighters in case team members are not the first to arrive, Fire Marshal Josep Pedrola said.
“It’s important for these guys to recognize the hazards and recognize the resources needed,” Pedrola said. “It’s important to get the experience so they are familiar with working with each other, and it’s important to work on stuff they don’t do every day.”
Besides people who have gone over the side, firefighters are sometimes called upon to use their rescue training to bring stranded boaters to safety.
The rescue team responded to six calls last year that required rope rescues, Pedrola said. He said there have been four or five already this year.
On Wednesday, firefighters practiced on a slope rated in the mid-range for steepness.
The assignment was to go down, stabilize and secure the victim, and bring up the stretcher without swinging it.
“When you start having broken bones, you don’t want to move them more than you have to,” Pedrola said.
• You can reach reporter Betsy Swanback at 541-957-4208 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.