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Firefighters Train for Cliff Rescues

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ROSEBURG, Ore. — Fires are just one of a number of emergencies firefighters respond to each year. Wednesday they trained for unique rescue situations that call for a rope and knowledge of how to get down a cliff.

The intense two-day training near the fish ladder area of the Winchester dam in north Roseburg runs firefighters through simulations that prepare them for an actual cliff rescue.

Career firefighters, paramedics and students in the fire and science program at Umpqua Community College all participate in the training.

When they get to the sight in the morning the group reviews how to latch a patient onto a stretcher and how to set up a raising and lowering system with a rope.

Then they perform it like they would in an actual emergency.

“If people get into too big of a hurry and they miss a step that’s when bad things happen. So we’re pretty safe and we take our time to make sure, we tie our knots right, we clip the carabiners correctly and we’ve got the right system in place,” said Barry Hutchings, Douglas County Fire Captain District No. 2.

Hutchings says there are different classes of slope – with class 1 being flat ground and class 5 being a vertical slope.

He says they were training on a class 3 Wednesday, so they didn’t need to rappel down they just walked with an attached rope system.

Douglas County Fire says they respond to cliff rescues about six to 10 times a year.

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