PHOTO: Firefighters with the Fort Payne Fire Department, conducting rope rescue training at Little River Canyon National Preserve. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)
By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor
FORT PAYNE, Ala. — Earlier today, fire fighters conducted crucial training at Little River Canyon, near the G.E. Hill bridge. Members of the Fort Payne Fire Department and a member of the Fischer Rescue Squad took part in a course to better ensure readiness in the event of an emergency at Little River Canyon.
The Rope I Tech Rescue Course was conducted as a course for the Regional Alabama Fire College. The Fort Payne Fire Department and the Fischer Rescue squad are located in close proximity to the canyon, and will help ensure the department's readiness in the event of an emergency.
"We've had to conduct 4 rope rescues already this year. It helps in terms of preparedness and to be ready for the real thing," said Captain Scot Westbrook. "It takes a lot of guys to conduct a real-world rescue. Even more than we have out here today."
The course was instructed by Fort Payne Firefighter Nathan Henderson. Fort Payne Fire Chief Don Fischer also took part in the course, saying, "We're always training. This is one of 30 schools the regional Fire College puts on."
"We need to be certified in Rope I to qualify to do the swift water rescue course, which is crucial for our department and the close proximity to the canyon," said Fischer.
"I think Guntersville, Decatur, and Madison are the only ones that have that certification, and the state will allow us the equipment if we are certified in it to react if an emergency happens at the canyon," said Fischer.
Captain Don Fischer, Captain Scot Westbrook, Lieutenant John Westmoreland, and Fort Payne Fire Fighters Trent Cosper, Wade Gotham, and Michael Williams all took part in the course. Dusty Humphrey from the Fischer Rescue Squad also took part in the course.