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Zipping in for fire rescue

6/5/2014

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

Rappelling on a zip line approximately 30 feet above the Chetolah Creek canal Wednesday, members of the Hays Fire Department were preparing for the worst.

The emergency responders trained on high-angle rope rescue equipment, said Darin Myers, a lieutenant with the HFD. The skill can be used in responding to incidents at wind turbines, transporting victims from one building to another structure and lifting people across ravines.

Rope rescue is just one of many scenarios the department has to anticipate. The department wants to draw from many talents during emergencies.

"There's so many different scenarios you've got to think about, consider and take into account when you try to put on different training so you can try to cover a wide variety of scenarios," Myers said.

The exercise served to build firefighters' confidence and encourage teamwork.

"Just the overall knowledge of practice of everybody working together so that everybody knows their strengths and weaknesses of what we can do with ropes," he said.

Firefighter Ross Meder said he enjoyed his first experience on the zip line.

"Initially, you get that little bit of nerves. But we spend quite a bit of time on the ropes, so we're getting more confident, more comfortable," he said.

Myers said the HFD partners with Ellis County Rural Fire districts to form the Northwest Regional Technical Rescue Team. The group serves 18 counties and helps with various rescue operations.