Eau Claire, WI (WEAU) -- Eau Claire firefighters were out in Carson park today, and there wasn't a fire. They spent the day learning the ropes of rescue training.
A ropes course, it may bring to mind fun team building exercises but the Eau Claire Fire Department has an entirely different purpose for putting their department through training.
Deputy Chief Ally Bertrang says the entire department attends the training to perfect lifesaving skills.
He says, "If we'd ever had an incident where we had someone fall down a bank or a cliff, where we'd need to use ropes to access the person, treat their injuries and rescue them from the location that they're at these, are the tools and the equipment that we'd use."
When explaining why the department attends training more than once, Bertrang says, “In order for personal to be efficient at it, we need to be training on it on a fairly regularly basis. So, several times throughout the year we do get out the special rescue equipment and give the entire Eau Claire Fire Department training in this area.”
Engineer Paramedic, Bob Haller agrees with Bertrang. Haller says, "This type of training is easily lost if you don't continually practice it. It's kind of like, when you learn how to tie your shoe when you're a little kid. It takes a while to learn how to tie the knots to secure that shoe on your foot. Well, it's the same thing when we're working with different pulley systems and tying different knots. If we don't continually practice it, it's a skill that's easily lost."
Haller says the current focus is high and low angle rope rescue. He says, "It's just another tool in the box that we have ,that we've got to keep up on our training on. So, every day we keep practicing a different one of our crafts to perfect our profession so that we can be a better benefit to the citizens we serve."
Bertrang says whether an incident occurs once a year, or every month the department needs to operate just as accurately every time, so the training is essential.