Firefighters conduct live-scenario rope training in Iron Mountain

IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) – On Saturday, first responders in Dickinson County were “shown the ropes” for lifting people to safety in rescue operations.

If you ever wondered what it takes to lift patients during a rescue, a morning drill in Iron Mountain was a good example. Firefighters from the Iron Mountain and Breitung Township fire departments spent time practicing their high angle roping skills, which IMFD Captain Randy Lapp said can be used to help get someone out of a hole or a gully.


“In our city, we have potential for somebody to fall down a hole and substantial levels,” said Lapp. “To get a patient out of a bad situation that’s way down in a hole, mine shafts or pits around here, we just have to be ready to go help.”

First, the group got a refresher on their knots and the raise-and-lower system. Then, they practiced lifting and repelling on a 36-foot cliff.

Breitung Township’s Chris Jurss, who has been with his department for a few months, says the live scenario was beneficial.

“I believe that with the joint efforts between the multiple departments within the area, it would make for successful rescues like this if need be ever have one,” Jurss said.

Even TV6′s Iron Mountain Kingsford Bureau Reporter Clint McLeod safely made his way down the cliff face.

City Fire Inspector Alix Loker said it is vital to have these skills should anything go wrong on a mission.

“You lose them really fast if you don’t train on them,” said Loker. “It’s really important to get out here as often as we can to be doing this kind of stuff.”

Lapp said these skills will save lives.

“It could be grandma rolling her ankle, and she’s down 50 feet. It’s not a high angle thing, but you have to put them in a basket,” Lapp said. “It’s just too dangerous to maybe bring a cot down there, and you don’t want to carry somebody up that far.”

The IMFD plans to conduct the rope training at least once a month to make sure the team is fully prepared for future rescue situations.

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