Firefighters train for heli- rescue
Carson City firefighters got a lesson in aerial rescue Monday when five Naval airmen from Fallon Naval Air Station shared some secrets for rescue operations.
The crew, one of three working out of the Fallon air base, flew a Huey helicopter similar to those common to the Vietnam War. The highlight of the day was an aerial lift of one of the airmen by cable and winch suspended 50 feet off the ground.
The exercise is designed to simulate a rescue in a steep ravine or canyon, said Battalion Chief Staci Giomi. “We have a program of quarterly rescue training sessions,” he said.
Seventeen firefighters participated in Monday’s exercise.
Petty Officer Nick Wiscons said the Fallon crews set up training for peace officers all over Nevada and parts of California.
“It’s a full-time job that takes us everywhere,” he said. “It’s more than just showing what we can do. Each department has their own skills and we learn from them and they learn from us.”
Giomi said rescues similar to those simulated Monday happen often enough in the Carson City area to necessitate constant training and updating of certification.
In the case of two other types of rescues, confined space and trench, the fire department is required by federal mandate to constantly update their rescue skills. “It’s because Carson City employees work in an environment where those types of rescues might be necessary,” Giomi said.
A trench rescue is usually enacted when someone gets caught in a caved construction ditch, Giomi said. Last year a man was buried up to his waste before workers dug him out and sent him to Washoe Medical Center with minor injuries.
Confined space rescues employee similar methods when the circumstances of the accident trap an individual.
Steep angle rescue is the most commonly used by firefighters “when a hiker or a motorcyclist falls and can’t get up,” Giomi said.
Although Carson City has local access to the LifeFlight helicopter used to transport medical patients, it would not be suitable for use in rescue operations, Giomi said. The Huey from Fallon is a much bigger aircraft.