Firefighters prepared for variety of rescue situations - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Firefighters prepared for variety of rescue situations

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)--  It took firefighters just 30 minutes from the time the call came in to rescue a 22-year-old woman stranded on Grandad Bluff Thursday afternoon..

"Once we locate them we decide what to do," said Capt. Todd Adams of the La Crosse Fire Department. "In that case we decided it was better off to rappel down to her, put her in a victim's harness and lower her down to a lower platform."

The quick response is the result of the extensive training the fire department's technical rescue team goes through.

"We sometimes train off the Bliss Road side, there's a big cliff area there, sometimes we rappel right of the front of the Grandad Bluff face," Capt. Adams said.

Despite the fact that it violates a city ordinance to climb in restricted areas like the face of Grandad, Capt. Adams says each year the team is called to multiple bluff rescues.

"It's just part of the job," Capt. Adams said. "Every year we have several rescues that come off the bluff, from the north end of Hixon Forest all the way through the south end of Grandad Bluff."

But the technical rescue team preps for more than rappelling down the bluffs. They're equipped to handle a variety of rescue situations, including building collapse and trench rescues.

"We're cross-trained in so many different things," Capt. Adams said. "Our technical rescue team is trained to cover all those areas and that's all part of the fire department."

Capt. Adams says gone are the days that firefighters just battle blazes and in order to always be prepared, they have some kind of training every day, in between fire and rescue calls.

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