Rockerville Fire Department Hosts Interagency Backcountry Rescue Training

ROCKERVILLE, SD – The Rockerville Fire Department held an interagency rescue training near Hippie Hole on Thursday.

The department’s search and rescue team receives calls about once or twice a month, and this cross-agency training takes place so that they and other agencies can stay prepared and ready when the next one arrives.

Organized by the fire department, the training was in conjunction with Pennington County Search and Rescue, Army Air National Guard and Keystone Ambulance. This was done to keep the relationship and communication strong between the agencies.

“Our goal here today is just to bring all the agencies together, communicate how it works between our agencies, train and become super proficient with this sked,” said Gail Schmidt, fire chief for the fire department of Rockerville. “So the SAR (Search and Rescue) team will hook that patient up to that sked and get the lines ready, so when the Air National Guard passes overhead, they’ll come down with their doctor.”

A lot of safety goes into this training as it mimics real-life situations – with Search and Rescue constantly monitoring the trees around the patient and team, so that when helicopters arrive there is no potential danger .

“It helps us work simply with the National Guard, allowing us to work effectively with doctors and pilots, to make sure the situation is safe and as quick as possible, to help them get higher care,” Pennington County Search and Rescue Training Officer Nick Rolfsmeier explained.

Search and Rescue asks that when people go hiking, they let others know where they are going first, what time they plan to return, and always bring water, food, shelter, and a first aid kit. with them.

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