At 12:04 p.m. on Sunday, July 21st firefighters along with police and EMS units were dispatched for an unusual rescue call. A woman suffered injuries while zip-lining on a private course in town and was stranded on a wooden platform almost fifty feet above the ground. Since the platform did not have a back-up ladder or staircase and firefighters could not reach the platform with any of our extension ladders or the 75’ aerial ladder on Ladder 67, another plan was needed to remove the injured woman.
Fortunately, Westchester County’s Department of Emergency Services has a Technical Rescue Team (TRT) available to all fire departments in the county. This team, comprised of firefighters who have volunteered for additional duty, has specialized equipment and training to handle technical rescues that are beyond the means and capabilities of local fire departments. Once the TRT arrived on location, a plan was developed for a high-angle rope rescue. The patient was “packaged” meaning she was immobilized and secured in a special device known as a SKED so team members and firefighters could lower her from the platform to the ground using a series of ropes and pulleys. Once on the ground, the patient was assessed and transported to a local trauma center by a paramedic from Westchester EMS and EMTs from the North Salem Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
This call was a classic example of mutual aid…different agencies working together in service of the public. Croton Falls firefighters were assisted by TRT members, firefighters from the Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department, firefighters and EMTs from the Somers Volunteer Fire Department who provided rehab services given the strong sun and high temperatures of the day, EMS professionals from Westchester EMS and NSVAC, and the North Salem Police Department.