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Simulation sends firefighters in search of ‘lost hunter’

Thursday, Russellville Fire Department was called out on a search and rescue mission to locate a hunter who had gone missing from a hunting club in Russellville. Upon locating him, unresponsive, in a deer stand, the RFD determined the hunter was in a diabetic unresponsive state, and they mobilized into action to revive him and safely rescue him from the tree.

The hunter, of course, was a training dummy made of hose. The hunting club was the stand of trees between City Lake Park and Russellville schools campus. And the mission was part of ongoing training RFD undergoes.

Firefighters undertake a variety of training exercises to stay sharp, Fire Chief Joe Mansell explained. Simulations – this one designed by RFD’s Andy Devaney – allow the department to put their knowledge and training into action and are a good way to determine what equipment, skills or information might be missing for the department or its trucks. Devaney said it forces the rescuers to practice “thinking outside the box. What do we have, and how can we do this?”

“We train in the classroom at the station, but to actually get out in real life and do it … We wanted the guys to think about, ‘What else do we need on that truck?’” Mansell said.

All RFD firefighters participated in one of the four times the simulation was held throughout the week.