September 24, 2021
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first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! COMMERCE – Firefighter Felipe Marcial stepped out on a ledge on the fourth floor of an empty building Friday and with strong ropes rappelled his way down the side to another firefighter waiting below. Then he headed back up to go through it all again. It was part of high-angle rescue training with Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 103 of Pico Rivera and Long Beach Fire Urban Search and Rescue 6 at the former Commerce Plaza Hotel. “I’ve been over cliffs that are 100 feet or more in the middle of the night for rescues,” said Marcial, a member of USAR 103. “That is why this is so important.” The day of training for 11 firefighters from the two task forces began in the morning and resumed in the afternoon after a brief interruption by a call to deal with a jumper on the Manchester Boulevard overcrossing in Inglewood. The jumper was brought safely down. By late afternoon, the firefighters had attached mountain- climber carabiners and ropes to a large tripod-like piece of equipment known as an Arizona Vortex that creates a high point for the ropes. The training, done by lowering the firefighter on a main line and a belay line attached to a harness on the firefighter’s body, are all meant to simulate a real rescue. Jumpers can be included in these types of rescues. Ropes also are needed to rescue children from wells, workers stuck in storm drains or pipes, window washers hanging off the sides of buildings and to bring up people whose vehicles go off mountain roads. “Most of these rescues can be very dangerous, so the main reason we are out here is for safety,” said firefighter Kevin Frye of USAR 103, who was in charge of the training. Friday’s training was the third USAR session this week and the last time the firefighters will be able to use the Commerce building before it’s demolished. The firefighters typically try to do the training three times a year, in addition to training in swift water, marine disaster and mountain rescues. The training helps such teams deal with incidents in Los Angeles County or wherever they are needed in larger disasters both in the United States and other parts of the world. Members of USAR 103 traveled to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and they went to New York after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack there. They were also on the scene after the tsunami in Southeast Asia. “We do a lot, so we need the hands-on practice,” said Capt. Don Griffiths of USAR 103. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028last_img