What's the Angle? Yongsan rescue training reaches new heights

What's the Angle? Yongsan rescue training reaches new heights

by Cpl. Yi Jung Uk
U.S. Army

YONGSAN GARRISON -- With their chief persons proudly representing the team as winners of the 2014 Installation Management Command Pacific (IMCOM-P) best fire officers of the year, the Yongsan Fire Department conducts relentless exercise and practice to maintain the standards of excellence that they themselves have set so high, here, May 8 to May 10.

The training package - conducted during the previous week by the Yongsan Fire Department - consisted mainly of certified rope rescue class and shoring class. With two Seoul city firefighters attending the training, the three day-long practices took place in various locations of the garrison, where the fighters could most effectively achieve the necessary techniques. One of the toughest trainings was held at building 1411 of the garrison.

The high-angle exercise, part of the rope rescue class, was all about 'high-angles', rescuing personnel in high locations. This was to get the firemen more adapt at circumstances in which the injured are located high up on a tower (water tower, radio tower, etc.), cliff or such that has a sheer wall.

Low-angle exercise was another part of the drill. "Yongsan is the best place to practice low angle exercises. It has countless hills. It's a low angle paradise." Said Timothy Johnson, assistant chief of training of the Yongsan Fire Department. Low-angle, compared to high-angle, is about helping people who fall down a hill and get stuck or get injured.

"Practicing the (low-angle) skills is the most important, because when something happens when they are at a bottom of the hills, we will now have the knowledge, skills, abilities and tools to get to the patient and begin some patient treatment and move them to safety, and take them to the hospital for additional treatment."

Along with the ascending and descending with the ropes, the firefighters were trained on methods to raise and lower a patient, henceforth moving them to a safe location, and to a nearest medical facility. As their skills improved through the low and high angle exercises, they moved on to this next level; raising and lowering a patient, along with themselves. A mannequin the size of an actual adult male was used as the patient, and the firemen deliberately tried to get it up and down the building.

Additional training was held for shoring, which includes a set of skills of using certain equipments where, ("although it is highly unlikely here," said Johnson) in an event of an earthquake or a building collapse, that allows for stabilizing collapsing buildings.

The training package was a definite representation of the Yongsan Fire Department's excellence. It not only displayed the set of skills that the Fire Department is capable of, but it also demonstrated the strong partnership that they had with the wider community; from Yongsan to the city of Seoul.

"They (the Seoul city firefighters) will take some of this training back to their fire departments… And if they need us, now they know they can call us. This is another set of skills that we bring to the table, again, for the whole community."

"Our goal is to continuously provide another level of service to our customers -- USAG yongsan, tenant units, and the Yongsan community as a whole. That's what these exercises are for, and that is the goal that the fire department will relentlessly seek." Said Johnson.

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