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Cal Fire focuses on teamwork and trust with their Rope Rescue training at Patrick's Point

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TRINIDAD - Cal Fire’s Humboldt and Del Norte County firefighters participate in Continued Professional Training sessions and we got an inside look at the Rope Rescue training.

Teamwork and trust, those are the two key elements focused on at Cal Fire's annual, Continued Professional Training sessions.

"And this is to help enhance all the firefighters skill set. Today we're doing LARRO, which is low-angle rope rescue operations, so in the event someone falls over the side of the cliff or a vehicle goes over the side of a cliff, these firefighters are training on how to go over that side of the cliff," said Cal Fire Training Fire Captain, David Esteves.

The rope rescue is equipped with haul, belay and main teams, an edge supervisor, safety officer, incident commander and a role playing victim. They perform over the edge rescue training with what they call a litter basket. This is used to haul the victim back up to safety.

"What we want in our responses is that, these firefighters jump out of the engine and already have it in their mind what they want, what's available to them and they can set up the most effective efficient system to bring that patient under the care of paramedics and hospital as soon as possible," said Esteves.

The training encompasses several events from unified response to violent incidents, wild land urban interface, skills testing, hazmat and two days spent on LARRO.

"It's a very perishable skill. Anytime we're dealing with ropes knots, rescue-type systems; that's not something we use on a daily basis. It's something that's used a couple of times a year on average. The Trinidad area tends to experience that a little bit more than some of the other areas, just because of the cliffs and all the visitors. So it's one of those critical skills you've got to stay up on. If you don't use it you lose it," said Joshua Bennett, Cal Fire Captain Klamath

"It gives you confidence in what you can do and I think that's really important to be confident and competent at any type of emergency, that's thrown at us in CalFire," said Matt Hill, Cal Fire Fire Captain. 

Once training is complete. The true gratification comes from putting these skills to use.

"It makes it where it all comes together, all that time spent, working on those skills, when you get the opportunity to actually put them into use and affect a good rescue, everything goes, more or less as you want it, it's that feeling of accomplishment when it's all said and done," said Bennett.

Thirty students and six staff from four different ranks at Cal Fire are participating in the refresher training.