Fire Service and St. John Rescue Practice Rope Rescue Techniques

During the week of Feb. 7th, the Virgin Islands Fire Service Training Division conducted the second part of a three-part vehicle rescue training plan designed to meet the National Fire Protection Association standards.

Responders prepare a Stokes basket for a rescue. (Bob Malacarne photo)

The course provided training for incidents that involve using rope rescue equipment to reach the site of an accident when a vehicle has left the roadway and has tumbled down an embankment. The trainees used a Stokes basket to practice carrying an accident victim and a giant tripod known as an Arizona Vortex, which provides a place to connect to when hauling a victim up or down a slope.

Responders use a tripod known as an Arizona Vortex to hoist an “accident victim” in a Stokes basket during a training session. (Bob Malacarne photo)

This session was a joint training opportunity for Fire Service and St. John Rescue team members to train together using rope rescue equipment in steep terrain. Events like these are relatively rare, which makes training for them even more critical for the safety of responders as well as the accident victims, according to Bob Malacarne, a long-time first responder and instructor with St. John Rescue.

Practice increases the chances of getting the patient to the hospital as soon as possible, he said.

This is the first of many joint training sessions that the Fire Service will be conducting with fellow search and rescue teams.