Rope rescue training adds valuable lessons for Rapid City Fire Department

RAPID CITY, S.D. — While some of us may be taking advantage of the warmer temperatures, others are preparing to possibly save the lives of those exploring.

Those saving lives, like members of the Rapid City Fire Department and other first responders. They prepare for those scenarios with exercises like a Rope Rescue Technician course.

“Whether it’s off the side of a cliff as we’re doing here today, over a building, up a steep slope in the wilderness, we’re just doing different skills to rescue people in those situations, said Lieutenant Eric Hansen, with RCFD.

The fire department was joined in the training by the Rapid City Pennington County Water Rescue Team and South Dakota Task Force 1.

The training held at Falling Rock, one of a few locations like “M” Hill and Skyline Trails, where first responders say they’re called to frequently throughout the year.

They say it also gives them a chance to know the lay of the land and terrain that they could be working in the future.

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“(We) run through kind of preplanning,” Lt. Hansen said. “The specific areas that we do respond to and just get that knowledge and practice.”

It’s part of a technician level class, that’s according to Lt. Hansen, takes about 12 rescue personnel to conduct a rescue safely.

“We look for a location of a victim, our best access to them and how we’re going to stabilize them, and then how we’re going to get out of that situation and transport them,” Lt. Hansen said.

He says they also learn to first assess the scene in situations where the victims could have injuries ranging from bumps and bruises to more serious injuries.

All while racing time and the rule of “The Golden Hour” to get the job done.

“We try to treat that Golden Hour one hour time frame of the call coming in to the patient getting to the hospital,” Lt Hansen said.

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