Team of Elk River firefighters completing rope rescue training

Elk River firefighter Ryan Wolcenski made his way down the side of a building during rope rescue training at Elk River Fire Station No. 2.

by Jim Boyle
The Elk River Fire Department is training a team of rescuers on confined space and rope rescues.
About 15 firefighters took part in the most recent training on April 7 at none other than the Elk River Fire Station No. 2.
“It’s not a natural feeling to be going off the side of the building,” said Elk River Fire Chief John Cunningham. “The guys did an excellent job.”
Cunningham said the department started its confined space and rope rescue training earlier in the year and plans to train about every other month.
It’s all part of an ongoing effort to complete a certification track for confined space and tope rescue missions.
With each training session, the degree of difficulty will go up.
Eventually they will do rope training off the side of a water tower.
Cunningham said there’s no name for this group being trained.
“I have just been calling it the technical rescue team,” he said.
Cunningham said it will come in handy in many instances, including in car wrecks when people go off the road into deep ditches and when people fall in holes.
The training helps rescuers learn how to work with the ropes and harnesses to be able to safely and effectively carry out their missions.

Elk River Fire Chief T. John Cunningham stood on the edge of the fire station during rope rescue training.

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