Risk-defying rescue

Hickory Rescue Squad volunteer Hunter Hardaway hangs upside down while attaching himself to a victim hanging from the Hickory water tower during Tuesday’s drizzly morning. The rescue mission didn’t include anyone in danger but, was apart of Hardaway’s training hours for his rope technician certification.

“I couldn’t hear anything once I was upside down,” said Hardaway. “All the blood rushed to my head.”

The training on the water tower raised the trainees 75 feet above the ground where rescue squad members and firemen took turns rescuing a mannequin victim. The men had to be lowered to the victim from the water tower ledge, hook the victim to themselves while hanging upside down and then belay down to safety.

“That was actually pretty fun training,” said Hickory Fire Department Capt. Karl Heffelfinger. “The height isn’t an issue once you are in the situation.”

The main goal for Hickory Fire Department’s chief Scott LeCompte was for his team to learn how to handle other high angle situations he said. The training at the water tower he said was to simulate a painter in distress. The rope training would be able to help save anyone from a tree trimmer, to a billboard technician, using the techniques the teams used during their Tuesday training.

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