Fire Department's New Rope Rescue System Helps Save Two People in TWO WeekS

September 21, 2016

In less than two weeks, firefighters have used new rope rescue equipment to save two lives in Oak Ridge.

The equipment was recently purchased for each Oak Ridge Fire Department engine and crews just started training last month. The quick deployment 3-to-1 rope haul system is designed to move injured people up steep slopes or through confined spaces where it is difficult to lift or carry a person. Already this September, the department has used the new equipment twice.

On September 5, firefighters were dispatched to an unconscious person in an attic of a house. On arrival, the fire crew found a man lying in the 120 degree attic, disoriented and unable to move. The crew rigged the rapid deployment rope system and, in a matter of minutes, was able to move him through the roof trusses and down the attic access opening to the waiting ambulance crew. 

On September 17, the department was dispatched to help a woman with serious injuries who had fallen from a retaining wall in a back yard. First responders found the woman lying 60 feet down a slope in a wooded area. The rapid deployment of the rope system helped the fire crew and Oak Ridge police officers move the injured woman up the steep slope to the ambulance.

This week, the Tennessee Army National Guard is deploying their Blackhawk Medevac Helicopter to Oak Ridge for three days of joint training with Oak Ridge firefighters. The training will wrap up on Thursday, September 22. The Blackhawk hoisting helicopter is stationed at McGhee-Tyson Air Base and is available to the community through the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency for extreme rescue situations.

The Oak Ridge Fire Department continues to train in specialized rescue areas, such as trench, collapse and confined space rescue. The fire department provides dedicated standbys upon request for contractors preforming high risk work in the area.