By STEVE SWOGETINSKY
If you earned a merit badge for tying knots growing up, it would have been helpful if you had taken the Rope Rescue Technician course with members of the Philadelphia Fire Department last month.
The city had 24 fire department members enrolled in the course as they learned real life rescue techniques. The week-long course was paid for with a $21,460 grant from Homeland Security.
“This is a rope rescue technician certification course and is taught by Spec Rescue International of Virginia Beach,” said Philadelphia Fire Chief Pierce Clark. “I got the grant for our department.
“Everything we do in the rescue world revolves around ropes. Whether it’s a confined space rescue or an aquatic rescue, we use a lot of ropes. The skills they will learn throughout the week will transfer to each student’s career in the rescue industry. »
Clark said an hour and a half was set aside for a knot review.
“Everyone in the class was given a list of knots they should know,” Clark said. “They will be tested on this.”
Firefighters knowing their knots and tying them to hold can make the difference in the life-and-death situation, officials said.
“We have situations where you have someone on top of a cell tower or someone in the water,” Clark said. “Ropes are such an important part of rescue. We move boats from point A to point B using currents and the rope system. We will learn about patient rigging, patient care and medical training. It’s all part of it.
Tying knots will not be new to Philadelphia firefighters.
“We hold refresher rope rescue training for the department every two weeks,” Clark said.
Firefighter/AEMT Richie Creekmore said it was training that was needed.
“I’ve been with the Philadelphia Fire Department for 5 years and in the Fire Department for over 12 years, and it’s required. It’s a technician class and to get into that class you had to have your rope awareness and rope operations certification. I think that’s going to put more technicians in the trucks, which is really important.”