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Saturday, January 6, 2024

Real Rescue: Woodbury Fire Department – New York

A 29-year-old New York state man survived to see another Christmas when a strong rescue plan by Woodbury Fire Department, local EMS responders and park rangers resulted in the man wakening in a warm hospital room on Christmas morning.

woodbury fd 1aIn the early evening hours of Christmas Eve, local EMS responders from Woodbury Community Ambulance and park rangers from New York State Park Police responded to a remote area in Harriman State Park for the report of a male who had fallen 25 feet from a cliff. Responders arrived and determined that the man had serious injuries and needed immediate evacuation. While EMS personnel began to treat the man for a probable broken jaw and leg fracture, Park Rangers contacted Woodbury Fire Department just north of the park for assistance.

woodbury fd 3Located 50 miles north of New York City, Woodbury Fire Department hosts a dedicated group of firefighters, trained, and equipped to respond to these types of incidents. When the call came out, Captain Bob Kauer was at home. Quickly determining the need for technical rescue, Kauer spoke with Fire Chief Chris Burke who assigned him to run the operation. Eleven Woodbury firefighters left their homes in freezing temperatures on Christmas Eve to race the ever-closing window to get the victim to definitive care (Woodbury Personnel – Cpt B Kauer, Lt T Finnegan, Driver S Stansfield, FF M Franko, FF J Stevens, FF D McCarthy, FF T Aliji, FF C Sheehan, FF M Flakowicz, FF H Danielson).

The Woodbury Fire crew met with Park Rangers and were informed the patient was approximately 1.5 miles from the roadway. Captain Kauer immediately coordinated equipment and packaging material to be moved to the scene and made the decision to call for an Air Ambulance to meet them at the roadway on the way out.

woodbury fd 4The Woodbury Fire crew faced two large washouts on the walk in and began to plan how to move the patients through them on the carry out. The smallest was walkable with the victim, but the large washout was 25’ deep and rocky and would require a rope system for passage.

Rescuers transitioned the patient to a Stokes Basket after treating injuries and covering him with a heat blanket. He was lashed in using the CMC Patient Tie In System. Litter bearers then began the long mile and a half carry out.

Leapfrogging ahead, Capt Kauer and a small group of rescuers prepared a low angle rope system to make passage of the large wash doable. A Harken/CMC Clutch was anchored and ready when the team arrived with the patient. Rescuer tie ins were made using firefighters existing Gemtor Rescue Harnesses and the patient was rapidly moved through the wash. Shortly thereafter, the patient was delivered to the flight team of Atlantic Air One who medevac’d the patient to the nearest trauma center.

woodbury fd 2The entire rescue lasted three hours and highlights the strong coordination and cooperation of local response agencies. Roco Rescue would like to recognize The Woodbury Fire Department with the Roco Rescue “Real Rescue” Award.


Real Rescue Plaque


Roco Would Like to Recognize Your Outstanding Rope Rescue!

Nominate your rescue team so we can recognize your professional efforts with a Roco Outstanding Rope Rescue Plaque. All reports that we receive highlighting an actual rescue event will be considered.

Click here to download the Real Rescue Form. You can then email form to info@RocoRescue.com.


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