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Davis Journal

Training never ends for South Davis Metro Firefighters

May 12, 2023 12:54PM ● By Becky Ginos

Firefighters use a hoist to lower a gurney down the side of the Station 81 tower. Crews from all over the country came to train on rope rescues using the Arizona Vortex equipment. Photo by Roger V. Tuttle

BOUNTIFUL—There were firefighters hanging from the tower at Station 81 last week. It wasn’t an accident, they were training for rope rescues. 

“It’s a class put on by Reed Thorne called Ropes that Rescue,” said Firefighter/Paramedic Timothy Rohmann with South Davis Metro Fire (SDMF) who is a member of the tech rescue team. “He has taught on a global level and has been in the business for 40 years. He’s a master. He specializes in rope rescue.”

People came from all over the country for the training, Rohmann said. “We had some from Miami, Austin, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, they came from all over the place. We were fortunate to have him come down here.”

The course specializes in rope rescue called Arizona Vortex, said Rohmann. “It’s equipment that’s a tripod that can be used in many ways. It’s like a teepee where you put multiple logs leaning together, tent-like.”

The whole class teaches how to use the equipment in interesting ways, he said. “For rescues in a stairwell, the side of a building, an elevator, we set up the teepee and hoist people up or down. We were taught how to use the equipment in all locations, inside a building or outside on a mountain. There are many facets it might be used for.”

The training went for seven days, said Rohmann. “We started at 7:30 a.m. and went to 7 p.m. It was 11-12 hours a day for seven straight days.”

South Davis Metro has been hosting the event for about eight years, he said. “A handful of years ago Reed Thorne was in contact with one of our employees so we’ve been inviting him to our area. Every year around April we host it. As part of that he allows one of us to take the course for free. It’s about $1,700 per person so that works out great.”

It’s a good place here because Arizona Vortex is manufactured in Clearfield at Rock Exotica, Rohmann said. “Ropes that Rescue designed it and they produce it.”

Rohmann said they used the equipment in local areas to see how it performs, he said. “We went up Parley’s Canyon, to the Salt Lake City training tower and industrial settings. We used the training room at Station 81, our mountains and other local areas.”

Using what he learned over the week and applying it was the thing Rohmann enjoyed most. “We took it out into the wilderness and the mouth of Parley’s Canyon and used it on a huge rock cliff,” he said. “I like getting outside and using nature to find creative ways to use Vortex. It’s tough outside so you have to be creative.”

Rohmann said for SDMF it’s more likely to be used on hiking trails and in the mountains. “It gives me the opportunity to use a piece of equipment that I know I can use in the future up in the hills.”

The purpose behind the course is to train the trainers, he said. “We take it for a week then go back and train the companies we work with and share our knowledge with our crews. The training never ends λ with us.”