, 2014


First responders practice rescue techniques

by Audrey Thomasson

KILMARNOCK—Earlier this summer, crowds of people jammed into Kilmarnock’s carnival grounds to buy their favorite foods, play games and wait in line to ride the Ferris wheel, Big Eli, and a dozen other rides.

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Last week, the area's first responders held practice drills at the carnival grounds to learn rescue techniques in getting to and extracting victims in unusual circumstances on the mechanical rides.

Organization by Kilmarnock Lancaster Volunteer Rescue Squad (KLVRS), volunteer firefighters and rescue squads from Lancaster and Northumberland counties and Lancaster County's career paramedics worked together in practice calls at the Ferris wheel, merry-go-round and two children's rides.

Despite carnival rides being statistically very safe, accidents and deaths can occur and medical emergencies can happen at the worst possible moment. Local rescue crews are prepared.

The area’s first responders held practice drills at the carnival grounds last week to learn techniques in getting to and extracting victims in unusual circumstances on the mechanical rides.

Organized by the Kilmarnock Lancaster Volunteer Rescue Squad (KLVRS), volunteer firefighters and rescue squads from Lancaster and Northumberland counties and Lancaster County’s career paramedics worked together last week and responded to three practice calls at the carnival ground.

The first call was for a panic attack “victim” trapped on a “broken down” Big Eli. Firefighters brought in the ladder truck in order to reach the gondala suspended high in the air.

While firefighter/county Advanced Life Support (ALS) provider Matthew Smith moved up the ladder to assess the victim, Kilmarnock fire department training officer Randy Kellum climbed up the Ferris wheel with ropes to secure the mechanism during the rescue attempt and supervise the rescue.

Meanwhile, a second call went out for the rescue squad to assist a child with a broken leg on the merry-go-round and another having an asthma attack on the kid’s cloud ride. Before the drills were over, the squad responded to a fourth victim who slipped and was wedged under the canoe ride.

“I’m really content with how things went,” said KLVRS president Samantha Walton. “We need to improve, but it gave us a better idea of how long it will take to rescue from the Ferris wheel. In a real-life scenario, it could be time-consuming because of crowds and getting a ladder truck in position.”

Walton estimated that 55 people participated from the Kilmarnock Volunteer Fire Department, White Stone Volunteer Fire Department, Mid-county Volunteer Rescue Squad in Northumberland, Upper Lancaster Volunteer Rescue Squad, Lancaster EMS and KLVRS.

The Upper Lancaster Volunteer Fire Department was called to assist on a brush fire in Richmond County and could not participate in the drill.


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