By Joe Berghammer

Tom Winchester during rappelling training on the 5-story tower

Three members of the Andes Fire Department, Dale Tait, Tom Winchester and Joe Berghammer, recently completed the Rope Rescue Operation Training Program given by the NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control. They were among 17 firefighters and EMS personnel from 7 Delaware County fire departments who spent the last two weekends in October at the county training facility in Hamden participating in a program to improve rescuer awareness of the safety concerns in rope rescue situations and to develop basic skills in rappelling and high angle rescue systems.

Instruction was done primarily atop the 5-story training tower at the Hamden facility. Through sunshine and periods of driving rain, the men and women taking the class learned knot tying, self rappelling, patient packaging, putting together different rope systems and ways to safely raise and lower a Stokes Basket with a patient and basket attendant in different situations and scenarios.

Dale Tait ascending the tower with a patient basket

The Andes Fire Department also has two members, John Ruchar and Ryan Little, taking the Fire Fighter I course. In order to be certified as an interior fire fighter, a member must complete 86 hours of course work over a period of 5 months. If this is something you might be interested in, stop down at the Fire house on any Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. We can always use new members. ~

Joe Berghammer and Tom Winchester practice typing a release hitch

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