Firefighters Complete Technical Rescue Training Across Virginia
 
By Vice President Steven King
November 9, 2016
 

Stonewall Jackson Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad (SJVFD) members are completing more Heavy and Technical Rescue (HTR) than ever, these days. Firefighters who staff Truck 511, especially, are completing high-angle rope rescue and vehicle extrication training across the region, with firefighters and paramedics from Ashburn, Sterling, Hamilton, Charlottesville, Blacksburg, and elsewhere, in addition to Prince William County’s own Public Safety Training Center in Nokesville, VA.

This past weekend’s HTR training course included complex vehicle rescue scenarios involving multiple cars, some cars smashed upside-down and on top of other cars, with life-sized mannequins inside each vehicle. Training pushed SJVFD members beyond the basics of vehicle stabilization and a “door pop” to “marrying vehicles” and extricating patients through extremely uncommon pathways. During this course, SJVFD members learned from fellow technical rescue experts from Fairfax and Loudoun counties.

Last month, several SJVFD members completed 32-hours of low and high-angle rope rescue training at the Loudoun County Fire-Rescue Training Academy. While this training was a refresher for some SJVFD firefighters, others thrilled at their first chance to rappel down, and later scale back up, the side of a multistory commercial building. Earlier in the year, Firefighter Steve King completed the Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads’ (VAVRS) weeklong Rescue College on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA.

In addition to training with different departments and equipment, SJVFD firefighters continue to train in-house at the fire station, where they can merge the best techniques and approaches from fire and rescue departments from across the state. Technical rescue events are low frequency, high-risk events that require the kind of training and preparedness for which SJVFD members are known.

 
High-pressure air bags can smoothly lift cars, trucks, and rubble.
High-pressure air bags can smoothly lift cars, trucks, and rubble.
 
Upside-down or right-side up, cutting and spreading metal used in modern vehicles is faster and safer with practice and skill.
Upside-down or right-side up, cutting and spreading metal used in modern vehicles is faster and safer with practice and skill.
 
Operating heavy extrication tools from atop a ladders is a skill worth mastering.
Operating heavy extrication tools from atop a ladders is a skill worth mastering.
 
Vehicles on top of other vehicles requires different stabilization techniques.
Vehicles on top of other vehicles requires different stabilization techniques.
 
Firefighter Steve King practices locking-off and self-rescue techniques while four stories up.
Firefighter Steve King practices locking-off and self-rescue techniques while four stories up.
 
Firefighter Eduardo Hernandez uses a Stokes basket to raise a training mannequin to the roof.
Firefighter Eduardo Hernandez uses a Stokes basket to raise a training mannequin to the roof.