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.