By Amanda Amsel
A local fire department and a regional medical center recently collaborated in an effort to protect residents.
Mount Carmel Health allowed the Jackson Township Division of Fire to use the crane they have on their Grove City campus to train. The crane allowed firefighters to participate in a unique emergency training exercise in which they practiced various scenarios where someone may be trapped on top of it.
“We do rope-certified trainings all the time, but this is the first time we have had the opportunity to practice on something that is this tall,” said Jamie Irwin, a township firefighter and paramedic. “The tallest building in the area is seven stories, so this is a lot higher than that.”
The crane, which towers at 210 feet, is more than seven stories high and is currently being use to build the new Mount Carmel campus in Grove City. The fire department was given special access to the crane to practice these life threatening scenarios.
“We have been climbing up the crane and then practicing various scenarios where someone is in danger,” Irwin added. “Some of these scenarios included the crane operator becoming ill and needing rescued, a crane worker getting injured and someone climbing up the crane and getting stuck up there.”
The firefighters climbed up the crane with all their gear. Included in this gear is a rescue basket and ropes to bring a victim down to safety.
While these firefighters have practiced rescues like this before, Irwin said it is completely different when you are doing it in a natural element.
“Everything is factored out here and you really don’t get that type of experience doing this in a controlled setting,” he said. “From wind to weather, we are learning how to do these rescues while dealing with all types of elements. You really can’t get that type of experience any other way.”
The fire department also thinks this training is useful as Grove City continues to expand and add taller buildings to their landscape.
Both on duty and off duty firefighters participated in the training exercise because they didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity to learn.
“Opportunities to train like this are very rare, so our guys who were off today still wanted to come out and learn,” Irwin said. “Getting the opportunity to climb to the top of this and practice real life scenarios is a great opportunity for us so no one wanted to miss out.”
The township fire department practiced on the cranes for several days, putting in up to eight hours of training in one day.
The Jackson Township Fire Department shows no signs of slowing down and continues to grow as the community grows. Currently they have 125 employees, including more than 100 firefighters. The fire department is responsible for protecting Grove City, the village of Urbancrest and surrounding Jackson Township.
For more information on the training exercise the Jackson Fire Department did with Mount Carmel or to learn more about the fire department, visit http://www.jacksontwp.org/fire-department/.