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Focus Northwest

Visual stories from the Eastside and the Pacific Northwest by Chad Coleman

Swiftwater rescue training with Eastside Fire and Rescue

May 5th, 2011 at Thu, 5th, 2011 at 12:26 pm by Chad Coleman

Yesterday’s sunshine also brought with it an afternoon assignment to Olallie State Park to watch Eastside Fire and Rescue firefighters complete their annual refresher training for swiftwater rescue. Above, four firefighters cross the Snoqualmie River to help establish a highline for rope rescue during a training session, May 4, 2011. More photos after the jump…

Before firefighters can transport a patient across a river on a highline during a rescue operation there are several steps that need to be completed. Basic tasks include rescuers physically crossing the river, establishing anchor points for ropes, getting rope across the river and the adjusting the highline for safe passage. This is a gross simplification of the process, but will give an idea of what you will see in the following images from the training exercise in a rough chronological order.

Rope gets across a the river in a variety of methods, below in order: 1. Firefighters take rope with them as they ford the river.  2&3. Firefighters take turns firing a rope gun the shoots a projectile attached to rope and propelled by compressed air. 4. A firefighter throws a ball attached to a light-weight string that can then be attached to the rescue rope to pull it across the body of water.


I'm a photojournalist. Check out my blog, Focus Northwest, follow me on Twitter or find my work on the Bellevue Reporter, Mercer Island Reporter, Kirkland Reporter and Redmond Reporter.

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