SFD high-angle rescue training called critical - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

SFD high-angle rescue training critical for real-life rescues

Shreveport firefighters rescue oil services worker Shreveport firefighters rescue oil services worker

In the wake of a daring, high-angle rescue of an oil services worker earlier this week, we're now taking a closer look at the specialized training Shreveport firefighters must undergo on a regular basis.

A worker injured Wednesday night at the Schlumberger location in Shreveport remains in the hospital.

Mike Painter, who became trapped between 2 silos at the oil and gas logistics company, was listed in critical condition Friday at LSU Health Shreveport. He has a broken leg and ribs and a skull fracture, hospital officials confirmed.

On this Friday, March 21, we caught up with some of the members of the Shreveport Fire Department's special operations teams. The department invited KSLA News 12 for a behind-the-scenes view of a high-angle rescue training at their academy in west Shreveport.

And we captured everything from firefighters suiting up, to getting in position for something they like to call a "low frequency, high-risk rescue operation." Battalion Chief John Vailes described the scenario for us: "We had somebody that had fallen and he landed on the third floor."

That somebody, in this scenario, was a mannequin nicknamed "Rescue Randy." For the sake of this training, the normal way down was blocked. "So, we had to take him up to the fourth floor, secure him and then bring him down on the platform," added Vailes.

That platform fire truck is a million dollar piece of equipment the department put into operation less than a year ago. It is able to reach a height of 100 feet. And in the case of a rescue operation, the platform can reach all the way to the ground. That helps get the patient to medical care as fast as possible.

Time is a critical issue in real-life situations. But we're repeatedly told that safety of the rescue crew must take first priority or there can be no rescue. But being safe takes time. Just ask Capt. Doug Stephenson. "You have so many knots you have to tie. You have so many riggings to rig up and it's, it's never fast. It always seems like, 'Oh my God, it's going so slow.'" But they stress: It's not optional.

Capt. Stephenson also told us that there's another top priority: "Patient care. Do no more harm to the patient than what's already done."

And Shift 'A' with SFD Fire Rescue 9 was the same team that rescued the Schlumberger employee, Mike Painter, who fell and became trapped between two silos in southwest Shreveport late Wednesday night, March 19. He's now recovering at University Health in critical condition with a broken leg, ribs and a skull fracture.

We're told that such a rescue is a great reminder of why regular training proves invaluable in real-world situations. "We have to train over and over and over again. and we have two drill groups that train at least once a month," said Capt. Stephenson.

It's just one more reason why this high-angle rescue practice continued long after we left the SFD Training Academy and why it will continue on Saturday, March 22.

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