Firefighters Conduct Mock Rescue Six Stories High

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The downtown was crawling with firefighters Saturday morning.

The twelve-story Roosevelt apartment building on First Avenue in Downtown Cedar Rapids was surrounded by fire engines, but don't worry it wasn't an emergency situation.

"We're doing some practical hands on training with our aerial [truck] to kind of help us realize what our limitations [are]," said Cedar Rapids Battalion Chief David Brown.

This training exercise is their chance to learn the ins and outs of the Roosevelt, and practice how they'd conduct a rescue.

"We're operating on the sixth floor, and we're just practicing getting them on the stretcher and getting them out the window to safety," Battalion Chief Brown said.

"We'd probably run some kind of rope out of our basket to them, that way in case they do slip and fall on their way out, we'd still maintain control of them," said Cedar Rapids Fire Capt. Terry McAtee.

Department leaders said this exercise was just the beginning of an effort to step up training at high rise buildings.

"The next year and a half, we're really starting some high rise classes just to get ready to better address the things that might possibly happen in Cedar Rapids," Capt. McAtee said.

They want to be prepared to put up the ladder, extending it several stories for a rescue at a moment's notice.

"Knock on wood, we've never had a high-rise incident in Cedar Rapids that's required us to do that," Capt. McAtee said.

"Which drives home the point that we need to practice this as much as possible," Battalion Chief Brown said.

The crew knows the old saying is true: practice makes perfect.

"We're already learning," Capt. McAtee said.

Department leaders have identified about sixty high-rise buildings in the Cedar Rapids area. They said that included buildings that are at least five stories tall.
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