Missoula Fire Crews Practice Low Angle Rescue on Mount Jumbo
KGVO News spoke to Training Officer Michael Thurlow after the training was completed.
“Today was part of our rescue team training,” said Thurlow. “We had a handful of off duty members that came in to focus on some specialized, low angle wilderness rescues for a lot of the recreational areas that we have around Missoula. Today it was all Missoula Fire personnel being trained. We had nine individuals along with one patient that was also one of ours from Missoula Fire.”
Thurlow laid out the training that occurred on Thursday.
“Today we were focused on getting a call from dispatch saying that there was an injured person up on Mount Jumbo,” he said. They were able to give us some coordinates and that was all we really had to go off of. That isn't uncommon that we just get coordinates from a cell phone and we use the different apps on our phone to try and locate those coordinates as close as we can to where that individual is and then just try and access them. Today we were able to access part of it by driving with a pickup and one of our rescue UTVs and then we had a little bit of a hike to get up to the individual.”
Thurlow described the preparations necessary for a successful rescue.
“We start from the moment of dispatch trying to figure out what was going on,” he said. “This one was reported that he had a broken leg. So when we start leaving to our vehicles, we try and make sure that we have enough medical gear and at least the initial treatment stuff to get the first team up there and start treating that patient once they locate them. We have a wide variety of medical bags. Some of them are set up for a little bit more of these wilderness rescues. It seems like every year we end up running more and more.”
Thurlow said when the rescue is too steep or the terrain too dangerous that they call in Life Flight or in special circumstances Two Bear Air out of Whitefish.
“We do work with Life Flight,” he said. “We have some pre identified landing zones on both Mount Sentinel and Mount Jumbo that we can use if we need to. We have also some training with Two Bear Air from up north, they've come down in case we have somebody in a really hard spot that we can't pack out, and we can't get Life Flight to. We've utilized them for training. We do have a little bit of experience with them.”
The fire department provided several photos of the training, including the ‘patient’ with a broken leg being transported down the mountain.