Preparedness & Recovery

Erie Firefighters Learn the Ropes During Aerial Rescue Training

Erie firefighters took turns rescuing each other in order to earn certification in Aerial Rope Rescue.

by Greg Wohlford, Erie Times-News, Pa. / August 3, 2017
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(TNS) - "Are you OK?"

Erie, Pa., Bureau of Fire Capt. Fred Gillespie made sure his mock "victim" remained calm while both men hung 70 feet from the ground as firefighters lifted and lowered their rescue basket using red, white and blue ropes attached to a nearby ladder truck.

Erie firefighters took turns rescuing each other in order to earn certification in Aerial Rope Rescue on Tuesday morning at the north end of a dry dock at DonJon Shipbuilding & Repair. Instructors Bob Barbarini and Terry Yeaney, from Bucks County Community College, have been leading firefighters through the course in recent weeks. Because of working staggered shifts, firefighters train in 4-hour blocks.

"Training together as crews helps us in times of emergency," Gillespie, 47, said. "You never know when the bell will go off or what you might find. This helps us prepare for anything."

Firefighters worked together to guide and lower the basket to pick up volunteer "victims" on the dry-dock floor, then raise them to safety during the training that concludes Thursday.

"Practicing rescues gives you confidence when you need to do it for real," said Erie firefighter Mike Hoffman, 32.

Greg Wohlford can be reached at 870-1696 or by email. Follow him on twitter at twitter.com/ETNwohlford

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