Firefighters train to rescue someone 85 feet in the air

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - When an emergency call comes in, first responders must rush to help. It takes constant training to be prepared for every situation that may arise. Biloxi firefighters trained Friday at the Coast Coliseum for a rescue high up in the air.

A mock 911 call comes in: someone had a stroke on a platform 85 feet in the air atop the Coast Coliseum. Biloxi firefighters rush to the scene.

"It's one of those skills you train for, but hope you never have to use," Deputy Chief John Jennings said. "But if you do have to use it, you definitely have to get it right the first time."

Firefighters race up dozens of flights of stairs. They decide the patient must be brought down and rushed to the hospital.

"They determine the best way to get him down is by a horizontal lowering system," Jennings said.

Firefighters on the ground send up the equipment by rope. For safety, the patient is strapped in with at least three straps and a harness. Firefighters radio below, the patient is about to be lowered.

"We really practice communicating together and making sure everything flows smoothly as a team so it can go fast," Firefighter Sam Groue said. "Everything is safe and the patient can be lowered in a safe manner, quickly."

It takes about 40 minutes to an hour for the crews to lower the patient to the ground.

"It is self satisfying when you save lives. As many lives as I have lost while being on scene, I have saved three or helped save three and that's very gratifying," firefighter Dwayne Leleaux said.

Firefighters respond to a lot of 911 calls, not just fires, but also accidents and medical emergencies.

"Thankfully, fighting fires is a very small part of our job," Jennings said. "It is very necessary and that still happens because things go wrong, but most of our calls lately have been medical calls."

To prepare for every situation possible, Jennings is tasked with coming up with all sorts of mock emergencies like this one.

Firefighters train about 30,000 hours throughout the year and every firefighter is at least first responder certified.

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