Weekend Rescue School Trains Cops and Firemen
Over 200 persons attended the third annual rescue school held at Weirton, W. Va. This weekend school is accredited as a regional rescue school (northern Panhandle) by the West Virginia University Fire Service Extension Program. It is hosted each March by the Weirton Heights Volunteer Fire Department, a member of the International Rescue and First Aid Association. The department operates a 24-hour emergency ambulance and heavy-rescue service.
This year’s program was divided into four sections. Section A was designed for emergency medical technicians, policemen and firemen and featured training in the use of backboards, anatomy, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and vehicle rescue techniques.
Section B was designed for fire department-oriented squads and included classes in anatomy, backboards, improvised gin poles, A-frames, search in toxic atmospheres, mechanical advantage and tunnel rescue.
Section C was designed for squad personnel ready to learn advanced skills. Their classes included learning design criteria for rescue vehicles, rope review, elevator rescue, industrial rescue situations and cliff rescue.
Section D was titled “Rigging for Heavy Rescue” and consisted of instruction in rope work, cliff scaling and rappelling, cliff rescue, bi-pods (shears) and gin poles.
The presence of women in rescue squads was very much in evidence with the large number of women attending the school. One rescue squad, West Liberty State College Rescue Squad, is comprised of more women than men.
The highlight of the school came with the local squad and some visiting squads responding to two actual rescue calls. On Saturday night, the Weirton Heights squad, along with some visiting Wood County squadmen, responded to a rescue call involving two police officers hanging on the edge of a 150-foot cliff overlooking the Ohio River. The squad lowered a man to the officers and raised them to safety. On Sunday morning, Section D returned to the scene and recovered a walkie-talkie and a flashlight for the local police.
On Sunday afternoon, the local squad and B Section responded to a serious traffic accident with a man trapped. The victim was rescued by forcing the doors of the crushed compact car.
The school issues completion cards for each course section completed and a school patch for each registrant. Persons who complete all four sections receive a certificate of course completion and a special rescue patch. Each section is 12 hours in length. In addition, West Virginia University issues an attendance certificate to each person completing a section.