Members of the Chattanooga Fire Department’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team lift Senior Firefighter Justin Vice (strapped in the Stokes basket) over the rail on top of a silo at the Buzzi Unicem USA cement plant on Suck Creek Road. The firefighters doing the heavy lifting are, from left to right: Senior Firefighter Jack Thompson, Senior Firefighter Mack Ridge and Captain Jonathan Lehman.
Chattanooga firefighters braved chilly temperatures and gusty winds Tuesday morning to practice their high-angle rescue skills. The specially-trained members of the departments Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team set up shop on top of a limestone silo at the Buzzi Unicem USA cement plant on Suck Creek Road.
In this exercise, a plant worker who was on top of the silo, fell and was seriously injured. It was up to the CFD USAR team to safely lower him to the ground. Standing in for the mock victim was Senior Firefighter Justin Vice.
The firefighters methodically secured Firefighter Vice in the Stokes basket and carefully lifted him over the rail. From there, it was 120 feet to the ground. A few minutes later, firefighters on the ground received the victim and got him out of the Stokes basket.
Battalion Chief Phil Hyman said the exercise was a huge success and he thanked the Buzzi Unicem cement plant for agreeing to participate in the exercise. “It’s great training for our USAR personnel,” said Chief Hyman, “and it’s great safety training for all the workers at the cement plant. Hopefully, we’ll never have to do this for real.”
From the rail, it is 120 feet to the ground.