Fire-Rescue-EMS reaches Medium Rescue status

Published 9:49 pm Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Their motto is “Dedicated to serve, trained to save,” and throughout the last few months the Washington Fire Department has upped the ante on training to save — an act that’s earned them Medium Rescue classification.
In adventures all over town, fire-rescue personnel have simulated rescue situations, trying out new skills and new equipment. Every shift on staff has rope-rescued a 175-pound dummy from atop a water tower, from catwalks 100-plus feet in the air, out windows of the upper stories of abandoned buildings and from beneath heavy items. Now they’re trained and certified by North Carolina Association of Rescue and Emergency Medical Services to do it on the job.
“It is indeed an honor to be recognized at this level of professional Rescue and EMS service,” wrote Joel Faircloth, the agency’s deputy director, in a congratulatory letter.
But for Chief Robbie Rose, the training and certification have much more practical applications.
“It better equips us to handle a higher, and more technical, level of rescue situation,” said Rose.
Rooftop rescues would be an example — perhaps a construction worker having a medical emergency in a location inaccessible by the department’s 100-foot ladder truck.
“Sometimes that 100-foot ladder can’t be used and that’s where the rope training comes into play,” Rose explained.
Working two days a week onsite, along with additional classroom hours, has earned the department the higher-level certification, but the local rescue technicians continue to learn new techniques through training largely provided through curriculum at Beaufort County Community College.
“Our training right now is in excess of requirements (for Medium Rescue status) — we’ve already gone beyond what we needed to do,” Rose said.
According to Rose, the department’s training never stops. Already, they’re looking into additional confined-space training and surface water rescue training.
Rose said his rescue techs have thoroughly enjoyed the training, which included rappelling off the water tower a few weeks ago, and that their rescue dummy was not injured in the training.