Thursday, August 17, 2017

Not Your Average Citizen Assist


Rapid City, S.D. - Just before 5 pm on Wednesday, Truck 1 from Fire Station 1 was dispatched to the City/School Administration Center (CSAC) building for a citizen assist. An individual with a disability that requires use of a wheelchair was conducting business at the CSAC building on the third floor when the elevator malfunctioned. The individual was not inside of the elevator at the time the malfunction occured. After speaking with the elevator repair technician, firefighters learned that the elevator repair would be a lengthy process. Additionally, because the chair weighed over 500 pounds and because of the configuration of the stairway, there were concerns about having firefighters carry the chair down the stairs and risk injury to the firefighters. The Truck 1 crew, led by Capt. Tom Bielmaier, devised a plan to assist the individual down stairs using a stair chair and to lower the individuals wheelchair to the ground utilizing a rope and pulley system and the aerial ladder on Truck 1.

Capt. Bielmaier enlisted the help of Battalion Chief Tim Daly , Squad 1 led by Firefighter/Medic Nick Phillipe, and Fire Rescue 3 led by Capt. Calen Maningas. With the individual safely on the first floor via the stair chair and Squad 1, the Truck 1 and Rescue 3 crews constructed a rope system utilizing ropes, pulleys, and the aerial ladder. Utilizing the ladder as a crane was not an option as the weight of the chair would damage the ladder. Instead, Rescue 3 crews assembled a system that uses mechanical advantage- identical to a system that they would use in a vertical rescue scenario- and safely lowered the chair to the parking lot.

This event highlights the ingenuity and skill possessed by Rapid City Firefighters. It's also a good reminder that we never know how or when the tools, training and knowledge that our organization possesses will be put to use. This event was a great examplegood inter-departmental communication and the positive working relationship between different City of Rapid City departments.


For questions or comment related to this release, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell, Rapid City Fire Department Information Officer, at (605)-394-4180.





Above: Firefighter Brett Morton completes the harness assembly in order to safely secure the wheelchair for lowering.

Above: Firefighters on the ground use a system of ropes and pulleys to raise the 500-pound wheelchair from the roof.

Above: Firefighter/Paramedic Brett Morton guides the chair as mechanical advantage is used to raise it in the air.

Above: Firefighter Paramedic Brett Morton keeps watch as the chair is lowered to the ground. The 100-foot aerial ladder was used as a change of direction for the rope and pulley system used to lower the chair.

Above: The chair is safely lowered to the ground


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Monday, August 14, 2017

Firefighters From Around South Dakota Hone Skills During Rally Week

South Dakota Task Force 1 trains in Rapid City all week.


Rapid City, S.D. - Motorcycle enthusiasts weren’t the only visitors to the Black Hills last week as members of South Dakota Task Force 1 (SDTF-1) spent Rally week in Rapid City to participate in a variety of training exercises. The week-long training kicked off on Monday, August 7 and wrapped up on Friday, August 11.

South Dakota Task Force 1 is comprised of firefighters from the Rapid City Fire Department (RCFD), Sioux Falls Fire Rescue (SFFR), Aberdeen Fire Rescue (AFR) and Watertown Fire Rescue (WFR) and is trained to respond to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive threats. Team members are also trained in specialized rescue techniques including, land-based search, structural collapse, swift water, confined space, high-angle, and rope rescue. 

During the week, Task Force 1 members trained on scenarios that, if presented, could pose a high amount of risk to responders. These high risk, low frequency events require a great deal of technical knowledge and skill.

On Monday, Task Force 1 members participated in a vertical extrication training. The training scenario involved a vehicle that had fallen from an elevated position, such as a cliff, or overpass. A mannequin was placed inside of the vehicle to simulate a victim in need of extrication. In this scenario, crews were not able to access the vehicle from where it came to rest. This necessitated the assembly of a rope system to lower rescuers and extrication equipment. Rescuers were forced to perform the extrication while suspended from rope systems.

On Tuesday, Task Force 1 team members reviewed principles and practices of swiftwater rescue before entering Rapid Creek for scenarios involving a submerged vehicle as well as a trapped kayaker. Students with limited swiftwater rescue experience were able to take advantage of lower-than-normal stream flows in order to better hone their skills.

On Wednesday, new crews from Sioux Falls and Watertown made their way to Rapid City and switched out with members that participated in the training on Monday and Tuesday. Seven members of SDTF-1 assisted local crews with the recovery of a deceased individual at the Hippie Hole area near Keystone, SD on Wednesday morning.

The training continued Thursday and Friday. Crews participated in swiftwater rescue training on Thursday at a remote, undisclosed location on Rapid Creek below Pactola Reservior. On Friday, the new crews had the opportunity to participate in vertical extrication training.

For more on the South Dakota Task Force 1 training, click here to view a story by Tessa Thomas of KEVN Black Hills Fox news.




Above: RCFD Firefighter/Paramedic Steve Keller uses hydraulic spreaders to open a door as part of the extrication process during South Dakota Task Force 1 training on Monday August 7 in Rapid City.



Above: Adam Nusbaum of SFFR (left) and Mike Roemmich of AFR (right) support a simulated victim as part of South Dakota Task Force 1 training in Rapid City on August 7.


Above: Bryan Wientjes of WFR (left) and Darryn Deck of SFFR (right) use hydraulic spreaders to remove the roof of a vehicle during a South Dakota Task Force 1 training exercise in Rapid City on August 7.

Above: Swiftwater Rescue Instructor Hunter Harlan of RCFD (far right) provides instruction on the use of a device known as a Water Curtain during South Dakota Task Force 1 training near Rapid City on August 8. The Water Curtain helps provide a downstream containment option for individuals who may have fallen victim to a swiftwater event.

Above: Members of SFFR prepare to enter the water of Rapid Creek during South Dakota Task Force 1 training near Rapid City on August 8.

For questions related to this article, please contact the Rapid City Fire Department Public Information Officer at (605)-394-4180.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Update on the 7-28-2017 Sturgis Rd Fire

Black Hawk, S.D. - At 4:56 this morning, Pennington County 9-1-1 dispatched multiple fire agencies to a confirmed structure fire at 4640 Sturgis Road. Responding units reported seeing flames visible from several miles away.
On arrival, units found a mobile home fully involved in fire. The fire was threatening an adjacent mobile home and flames were directly impinging on grass and trees nearby. Bystanders reported that there were potentially several individuals still inside the occupancy. Firefighters made multiple attempts to enter the structure and affect a rescue. Because of the heavy fire conditions, firefighters were unable to make entry into the structure.
An adjacent mobile home sustained damage to its exterior as a result of radiant heat emitted from the structure of origin. In addition, a small grass fire was ignited as a result of the structure fire. The grass fire was quickly knocked down. The grass fire did not result in damage to structures.
Two occupants of the residence were able to exit the structure on their own prior to the arrival of firefighters. Those occupants sustained minor injuries and were evaluated by Emergency Medical Services on scene.
After speaking with witnesses on scene, law enforcement and fire service personnel were working with information that there were three (3) individuals who were unaccounted for. As of 3:00 pm MDT, investigators have recovered the bodies of three (3) deceased individuals. Two of the bodies appear to be adults. Their gender, age, and relationship to each other and the other occupants in the home is not known at this time. The approximate age of the third individual was not available as of the time of this release. Investigators are working to determine that information.
The incident is currently under investigation. The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation into the fatalities with assistance from the Rapid City Police Department. The South Dakota State Fire Marshalls Office is investigating the origin and cause of the fire.
Multiple agencies from Pennington County and Meade County responded to the fire. Firefighters from Black Hawk, Piedmont Fire Department and Piedmont Ambulance, North Haines, Rapid City, Rapid Valley, Whispering Pines, Box Elder, Rockerville, Ellsworth Air Force Base, Sturgis and Pennington County Fire Administration all responded to the fire. The American Red Cross serving Central and Western South Dakota, Montana Dakota Utilities, Black Hills Energy, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Meade County Sheriff’s Office, and the South Dakota State Fire Marshalls Office also responded to the fire.
Updates related to the investigation of the fatalities as a result of this fire will be provided by the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office when appropriate. Updates related to the investigation of the origin and cause of the fire will be released by the South Dakota State Fire Marshalls Office.
For questions related to this release, please contact Capt. Corey Brubakken of the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office at (605)-394-6115 or Lt. Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer, at (605)-394-4180.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Sun Ridge Fire Update


Rapid City, S.D. - At just after 3 pm today, units from Doty and Rapid City Fire Departments as well as the United States Forest Service and South Dakota Wildland Fire were dispatched to a report of smoke in the area of Nemo Rd. and Wideview Ln. about 1 mile west of Rapid City.

When a unit from Rapid City Station 3 arrived in the area, they found an approximately 1 acre fire burning in grass and timber understory in the area north of Sun Ridge Rd. and Aztec Dr. Additional resources were requested. 

The fire was named the Sun Ridge Fire and was burning on private land. The Sun Ridge Fire burned 1.06 acres. As of 9:00 pm MDT, the fire was declared contained and controlled. No structures were threatened. The fire is believed to have been started by lightning.

Fire resources from the United States Forest Service, South Dakota Wildland Fire, Rapid City Fire Department, Pennington County Fire Administration, Doty Fire Department, Johnson Siding Fire Department, Black Hawk Fire Department, Whispering Pines Fire Department, and North Haines Fire Department all worked to fight the fire.

The South Dakota Division of Wildland Fire Suppression will continue to monitor the fire. 

No further updates to this release are anticipated at this time. Please contact Rapid City Fire Department Public Information Officer Jim Bussell at (605)-394-4180 for questions related to this release.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

RCFD Responds to Afternoon Grass Fire

Second human-caused fire in 24 hours


Rapid City, S.D. - Crews from three Rapid City Fire Stations responded to a grass fire near the intersection of First and Quincy Streets this afternoon. At about 1:15 pm, Pennington County 9-1-1 dispatched crews to a report of a 20-foot by 20-foot area on fire behind the apartments at that location. When crews arrived, the fire had spread uphill aided by gusty winds and dry fuels.

The forward progress of the fire was stopped within about 15 minutes. Crews spent about 90 minutes on scene mopping up hot spots. There were no firefighter or civilian injuries reported. Although no structures were immediately threatened, the Rapid City Fire Department provided structure protection for homes on Kellogg Place in the Star Village neighborhood above the fire. 

The fire burned approximately 1/2 acre of grass. The fire is believed to have been human caused. The Rapid City Fire Department Fire and Life Safety Division is investigating. 

This is the second human caused grass fire in 24 hours for the RCFD. In both cases, fire moved quickly through green grass and was pushed by gusty winds. With continued warm and dry conditions, the public is reminded to exercise caution with ignition sources. 

No updates to this release are anticipated. Please contact Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer for the Rapid City Fire Department at 605-394-4180 for questions related to this release.

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Cardiac Arrest Victim Successfully Resuscitated at Sioux Park Track

Bystanders, responders work together to achieve positive outcome.


Rapid City, S.D. – Just before 9 am this morning, Pennington County 9-1-1 dispatched Rapid City Fire Department units to the track at Sioux Park for a report of a cardiac arrest. An individual was exercising on the track and suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. Bystanders immediately administered CPR. As is standard protocol, the Rapid City Police Department was also notified of the emergency. Senior Officer Jerred Younie and Senior Officer Mark Weyer were on patrol in the area and responded.

When Officers Weyer and Younie arrived, the pair deployed an automated external defibrillator (AED) from Younie’s patrol car. Officer Weyer administered one shock from the AED to the victim. Medic 3 and Rescue 3 from the RCFD station located on Federal Avenue were on scene within 4 minutes and began providing advanced life support (ALS). At the time the individual was delivered to a local hospital, they were conscious and able to communicate with medical staff.

The American Heart Association uses a metaphor to describe the series of actions that must be successfully performed to give victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest the best chance for survival. That metaphor is known as the Chain of Survival. Links in the chain include:
-Recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system
-Immediate high-quality CPR
-Rapid defibrillation
-Basic and advanced emergency medical services
-Advanced life support and post-arrest care

This incident today is a prime example of each of those links functioning flawlessly and ending in a positive result. This incident also highlights the importance of knowing CPR and being prepared to perform resuscitative efforts should they be needed. Each individual that responded to this incident were integral links in the Chain of Survival. The bystanders who quickly recognized cardiac arrest and initiated CPR, the 9-1-1 dispatchers that directed callers and activated EMS response, the RCPD officers that deployed their defibrillator quickly and efficiently, the outstanding pre-hospital care providers from the RCFD, and the medical staff at the receiving facility today were all links to a successful resuscitation.

To protect the identity of the individual involved, no information on the individuals gender, sex, age, etc. will be released. No further updates to this release are anticipated. For questions or comment related to this release, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell, RCFD Public Information Officer, at (605)-394-4180.


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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Water Rescue Team Completes Two-Day Training

Rapid Creek site of refresher course

Rapid City, SD- The Rapid City/Pennington County Water Rescue Team (WRT) completed a two-day Swiftwater Rescue Technician Advanced refresher course in the Black Hills this week. The team took advantage of lower stream flows to practice highly technical techniques for rescuing individuals in the swiftwater environment. 


Those trained as Swiftwater Rescue Technicians at the advanced level are specially trained in advanced rescue situations both in and over water including search management in swiftwater and flood environments.

During the first night of training, the crews trained on mechanical advantage and rope systems as well as night and poor visibility water operations. This training included an exercise at the Dakota Point area of Sheridan Lake. Members were required to set-up rope systems and rappel to the spillway area of Sheridan Lake at night (pictured below).



Above: A Water Rescue Team member rappels to the spillway area of Sheridan Lake during night operations training.

Above: Sheridan Lake Spillway area.

Above: Crews establish an anchor point and build a mechanical advantage system during night and poor visibility water operations training at Sheridan Lake's Dakota Point area.


During the second day of training, the team trained on swiftwater and flood search management, true and conditional rescues, high energy tethers, and paddle boat handling. The second day of training was conducted in an area of Rapid Creek downstream of the Placerville Church Camp.

Above: Crews practice with the Rapid Deployment Craft (RDC) in moving water as part of Swiftwater Rescue Technician Advanced training.

Above: Water Rescue Team members train with a device known as a Water Curtain. The device is designed provide a large grab area for confused swimmers and troubled victims. 

Above: A simulated victim has gotten their foot trapped in underwater debris and is awaiting rescue. 

Above: WRT member Calen Maningas yells out instructions to members during rescue exercises.

Above: A WRT member practices the "live bait" technique of rescuing a victim who is being swept downstream. Tethered via rope, the rescuer jumps headlong into the water to grab the victim before being tethered to safety.

The Rapid City/Pennington County Water Rescue Team (WRT) has been a combined effort of the Rapid City Fire Department, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, and the Rapid City Police Department, since 1987. The team provides services to Rapid City, Pennington County and the surrounding region. The WRT can respond to a variety of calls, including dive rescue and recovery, surface rescue and recovery, swift water rescue and recovery, ice rescue and recovery and evidence recovery and underwater crime scene investigation

As the largest water rescue team in the region, the WRT is classified as a Type III response team and is currently undergoing training to enhance their capabilities to a Type II response team.

The team can be called to a myriad of water related calls and the members perform their duties in trying and hazardous conditions that include black water diving, ice diving, night time operations, and exposure to extreme temperatures. The team is available 24 hours a day.

With the area’s growing population and increased interest in water sports, as well as a continuing threat of flooding from Rapid Creek and the surrounding area, the WRT is an essential part of the public safety efforts provided by the cooperating agencies. Over the past several years, the WRT has responded to dozens of water related calls for service including drowning rescue and recovery, evidence recovery, and swift water rescues and recovery.

For more information on the Rapid City/Pennington County Water Rescue Team or for comment or questions related to this article, please contact the Rapid City Fire Department Public Information Officer at (605)-394-4180.

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