The Missoula City Fire Department conducted their monthly training on Thursday by lowering rescue personnel to the ground from the roof of Aber Hall on the UM campus, a distance of 110 feet.

photo by Peter Christian

Captain Chad Kidd said the monthly training takes firefighters from rivers to trenches to the top of some of Missoula's tallest buildings.

"Today we're doing high-angle training," Kidd said. "Using the ropes is a kind of foundation for the rest of our training scenarios, whether it's a confined space like a trench, or up here on the roof of Aber Hall. What we're doing today is a high angle rescue, coming down and doing a pick off, getting somebody to the ground. All the elements are there that relate to all the rescue disciplines that we train on."

The firefighter who volunteered to go over the side and be lowered 110 feet to the ground was Nate Auge.

"There are a few butterflies, but this is the fun part of the job, so I'm excited for it," Auge said. "I volunteered for it, I haven't had a chance to come off the top here yet, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to do it on training before I had to do the real thing sometime."

Auge described the rescue training scenario.

"We're going to simulate that there's a victim at the bottom, and that we have to raise them once we get there, and then we're going to lower them back down to the ground."

Captain Kidd and the fire department personnel expressed their appreciation to the University of Montana for allowing the use of their facilities for training.