What if a car goes into a ravine? Shoreline Fire trains for the rescue

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Vehicle and driver in the ravine


By Diane Hettrick
Photos by Steven H. Robinson

What if a car goes off the road and ends up down a wooded ravine? That's not such a stretch of the imagination. We have had many such situations.

First one down sets the rope

So who rescues the driver from the vehicle? The fire department.

Crew make their way down
carrying equipment

Fire departments train constantly for every scenario they might encounter. Some training exercises are planned long in advance. Many take advantage of opportunities like vacant buildings that are going to be demolished or large, hilly parks with wild areas where you can place wrecked cars or dangle 'bodies' from trees (see previous article)

Nearing the car

Local fire departments share training. They also assist each other on calls, depending on how extensive the issue is and which department has a rig available and nearby. 

Up top, they attach the litter to
the crane on the rig


This week, Thursday through Sunday, there was a dramatic drill in the woods at Shoreline Community College hosted by Shoreline Fire and involving fire departments from Shoreline, Northshore, Bothell, Woodinville, and the security department from the college.

They have cut open the front of the car and
are extracting the driver

The exercise was to recover the driver from a wrecked vehicle in a steep, wooded ravine. The day before the exercise, Shoreline personnel placed a wrecked car in the ravine.

Now they are headed up the hill toward a spot
where the crane can be used

They ran the exercise four times, to make sure that all departments and all shifts had the chance to participate.

Now the crane takes over

One of the Shoreline chiefs volunteered to be the driver who was rescued from the car.



They used a combination of manual labor and the crane to get the driver up the hill. Sometimes crew members will accompany the litter and steady it to keep it from swinging around.

At the top of the hill

At the top, the medics will be able to treat some injuries and stabilize the driver for transport to the hospital.

Another day's work for the Shoreline Fire Department.



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