MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Have you ever wondered how someone can get rescued from a building without using the stairs, elevators or even a ladder?
That's where Mobile Fire-Rescue's Urban Search and Rescue team comes in. Week 8 of the Citizen's Academy was Monday, May 6 and FOX10 News was there.
Whether it's 4 stories or 40, the Mobile Fire-Rescue's Urban Search and Rescue team is ready to rappel to make a rescue. Week 8 of the Citizen's Academy consisted of rappelling and tactical rescue. Participants, including FOX10 Reporter Michael Brannon, experienced what it's like first-hand.
Rappelling with the USAR team is unlike any rock climbing or combat rappelling. With ropes rated up to 9,000 pounds, the USAR team is serious about safety.
"Our rescue rappelling is very safety oriented," said Captain Dana Tanz.
Captain Tanz said safety is the priority.
"We stress safety in all aspects of what we do. We have a 15-to-1 safety factor built into everything we do. So that when we come down, we're in a safe environment, along with you being safe. We have a bottom body belay. We've got the idea that the guy on the bottom can visualize a potential hazard that happens to us, and he can act quickly and control our decent to the ground," said Tanz.
If a rescue needs to be made, officials said it's the same concept with a different angle.
If someone needs to be rescued from a window, a firefighter will rappel normally then invert, enabling them to properly secure the victim.
Once the firefighters make it to the ground, it's back upstairs to do it all over again.
Captain Tanz said the USAR team trains continuously for these types of rescues with refresher courses and continuing education.
On Friday, May 10, the Citizen's Academy will participate in a house burn. Students graduate the course next Monday, May 13.
If you would like to sign up for the next Citizen's Academy, click here .
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