St. Croix emergency responders train in rope rescue techniques

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ST. CROIX - V.I. Fire Service firefighters and St. Croix Rescue Squad members have been practicing their skills rappelling and using ropes this week to enhance their skills and help them to better respond during emergencies.

Daryl George, assistant director of the V.I. Fire Service, said the Rope Handling training course began Monday and will be completed today. Similar training took place on St. Thomas last month.

The training, which also includes indoor learning classes, has taken place at several sites and included all available firefighters and rescue personnel at one time or another.

On Thursday, a group of about 20 firefighters and rescue personnel on St. Croix attended classroom instruction from 8 a.m. to just before 11 a.m., then traveled to locations at the abandoned deChabert housing community and at the Fire Services Administration building to practice rappelling down the outside of buildings.

George said the training is designed to prepare firefighters and emergency personnel to use of ropes and other equipment to perform a comprehensive rescue operation during catastrophic events.

In addition to the training, about 16 members of the V.I. Fire Service have been selected to attend Low Angle Rope Rescue training, which will take place next week. George said those selected who successfully complete the five-day course will be certified as technicians in Rope Rescue Operations and will be members of a newly created Task Force to conduct Urban Search and Rescue operations in the territory.

George said the training is being conducted by Fire Management Consultants, along with St. Croix Rescue personnel for their full support and assistance to the Fire Service.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email

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