Firefighters save local dummy

December 12, 2012

By Michele Mihalovich

By Michele Mihalovich
Paul McCall, a firefighter with Eastside Fire & Rescue, lowers himself down from the Tolt-MacDonald Park suspension bridge in Carnation to “rescue” a training dummy Dec. 7.

Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters had good reason Dec. 7 to call the man dangling upside down from a rope over the swollen Snoqualmie River a dummy.

He celebrated Washington’s new law that allows recreational use of marijuana by making a homemade bungee cord, tied it to the suspension bridge over the river at Tolt-MacDonald Park in Carnation, and jumped. But he apparently hadn’t thought about how he was going to get back on the bridge after the jump.

And there he dangled.

But in all fairness to the man waiting for firefighters to rescue him, he literally was a dummy, a mannequin used for training exercises.

EFR Lieutenant Ben Hudson, stationed in Carnation, served as lead instructor for the three-day firefighters’ drills.

He came up with the above rescue scenario, but the training the firefighters practiced that day could have worked for many situations, like an 8-year-old kid trapped on a rope swing over a body of water, he said.

Hudson said firefighters often train for “low-frequency but high-risk” situations.

“Those situations don’t happen often, but we have to be ready for when they do,” he said.

For three days, firefighters conducted rescue training exercises that included swift-water rescue using a new motor boat and an inflatable raft, trench-collapse training, confined space training and rope training.

The finale of the three-day training familiarized firefighters with ropes used in rescue situations, lowering down to a victim, securing the victim with a harness and rescuing the victim from a dangerous situation. Thirteen firefighters showed up for the Dec. 7 rope training drill, but Paul McCall, stationed in downtown Issaquah, was selected to rescue the dummy.

Turns out, this wasn’t the first time McCall has been lowered high above a body of water. Years ago, his fellow firefighters lowered him over the Snoqualmie Falls to rescue a trapped hiker.

The quarterly training sessions are great refresher courses, he said.

Plus, it familiarizes them with the equipment and builds camaraderie and trust with the other firefighters, he said.

You’d be hard pressed to find a firefighter who doesn’t love his or her job, McCall said.


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2 Responses to “Firefighters save local dummy”

  1. Ben on December 12th, 2012 9:26 pm

    Speak my mind? OK. I will. Seriously? Yet another lame attempt by media at pot humor. I know a lot of people who smoke pot for various reasons, and none of them would ever consider doing something like this. On the other hand I used to know a few people (I stay away from them) who given enough alcohol would have done it. Pot doesn’t make you stupid, but ignorance does.

    The writer of this article is ignorant when it comes to pot and its effects. If she weren’t she would have used alcohol or something that would actually make someone bungee jump off a bridge in winter. You should have just kept the focus of the story on the Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters, which is what it is about.

  2. Administrator on December 13th, 2012 11:16 am

    The firefighters came up with the scenario for the rescue, not the writer.

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