Well, if I had to pick a week that I couldn't get to the rockpile, I picked it right. Unfortunately, most of the class was outdoors, so most of my gear is still drying out. Even in Western MA, we all kept wondering "Who'll stop the rain?"
I have been wanting to take one ofCMC Rescue's
courses for a long time. At this point, it's really review for me, as I have certification already, but most rescue disciplines have more than one "right" way to accomplish your objectives and I figured it'd still be nice to see what their approach was. I headed out of work a little late and got to the Springfield Fire Academy just about an hour late. The facility is in great shape, considering it's age and the budget mayhem that the department has been facing since Mitt set foot on Beacon Hill.
The students were nearly all career firefighters, some from NY, several from RI, a couple of us from MA and a NJ cop with and ESU (Emergency Service Unit). The First day was classroom and basic knots, anchors etc.. Good thing, it was pouring buckets all day.
Tuesday, we hit the ladder tower and built systems and ran some basic evolutions. While many rope rescue techniques evolved from climbing techniques and equipment, some of these pictures might illustract some of the differences.
A basic anchor:
A Belay system:
Rappells are seldom used in rescue. Lowering the rescuer is more common. A Mainline lowering system (rigged to be converted to a raising system.):
The first set of evolutions involved lowering a litter over the top of the ladder tower (6 floors up), having to clear a 4' parapet wall.
I ended up as the attendant on the last evolution, they lowered me and my patient down two floors then hauled me, my patient and my fat butt back up:
Once we broke the systems down, we got a lasting reminder of why we protect edges and use redundant systems:
Wednesday it poured again. Not many opportunities for pictures. I did manage to find a fine Mexican restaurant for dinner, and even finished it of with a glass of Paradiso. Yum!
Thursday we had the best weather of the week. We were back out for rappelling/locking off and pick-offs, as well as vertical litter lowers.
Friday, the sky opened up again. We had a change of venue over to Agawam, however the cliffs were way too slippery to be safe to train on. We spent the day running scenarios on a fire tower, mostly dealing with overly complex rigging situations to keep it interesting. Again, way too wet to take pictures.
Overall, a great class. CMC offers great instructors (One of ours works full time for the LA County Sherriff's Dept. Rescue team, and the other is an officer on the Reno, NV FD's technical rescue team, as well as on FEMA's Task Force.) Their approach is heavily Fire Service influenced, yet they still can take in the Wilderness perspective.
As much fun as I had, I'd still rather have been skiing