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North Branford and Branford Fire Departments to the Rescue [VIDEO]

A joint training effort ensures that area firefighters are prepared for outdoor slope evacuations.

Ever wonder how fire crews safely haul victims from deep woods accidents or treacherous inclines? There are several methods for rescuing victims in these types of dangerous situations and solid training is what allows crews to ensure speedy care for victims and safety for all responders.

Last week and  fire departments teamed up for their final class in grant-funded, multi-department rescue core training at in North Branford where they simulated a slope evacuation.

Captain Rick Hart, Training Officer for the Branford Fire Department, explained, as the culmination of a rescue core training program, members of the two fire departments were simulating various rope rescues in the park.

Patch caught the first rescue of the day where crews worked in three teams to haul a victim up a low-angle slope–a low angle is considered 45 degrees or less.

A victim was placed at the bottom of the slope–a dummy body was used–and a rescue crew had to safely descend the slope with a rescue basket, treat the victim at the scene and then secure him/her for ascent.

Hart said it’s vital that crews be able to treat patients at the bottom of dangerous slopes in the same manner they would if the victim was in his or her own backyard.

Two rope crews–one on a belay system and the other on a haul system–helped to guide the crews and victim up the dangerous slope to safety.

“The purpose of using ropes and the haul system is to help in case anyone slips,” said Hart. "To keep everyone from falling and getting injured.”

The FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant, which covers $265,000 for the training, funds the rope rescue training. The grant money allows up to 100 paid and volunteer fire fighters from the area to become trained in rescue core; currently Branford and North Branford have filled and completed one class, but there are three more with openings running throughout the next month. If you are a paid or volunteer firefighter from the area (towns beyond Branford and North Branford are welcomed) and want to take the course, contact Rick Hart at rhart@branfordfire.com.

The grant money covers the cost of pay for paid officers, textbooks for all participants and pay for the State Fire Academy Instructors who preside over the trainings.

The rope training is a pre-requisite for all rescue discipline courses, said Hart. The future training will be in confined space rescue, said Hart. 

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