Tuesday, November 21, 2017

**For Immediate Release**
Re: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
From: Rapid City Fire Department Public Information Office
(605)-394-4180
Date: 11/21/2017

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

RCFD makes "nice list", asked to deliver Santa to Main St. Square


Rapid City, S.D. - Late this morning, the RCFD Public Information Officer received a call from the North Pole regarding the arrival of Santa Claus in Rapid City this coming Saturday, November 25.

Mr. Alabaster Snowball, Press Secretary for Mr. Claus, contacted the RCFD to inquire about the availability of a RCFD fire apparatus for Santa's delivery to Main Street Square at 2 pm on Saturday.

As has been the case for a number of years, Santa has chosen the RCFD to deliver him to Main Street Square for a number of reasons. Mr. Snowball remarked; "The RCFD has a reputation of reliability". "Reliability coupled with the fact that their fire engines are shiny and red, much like Santa's sleigh, make them an obvious choice", continued Mr. Snowball.

The Rapid City Fire Department will be picking Santa up at an undisclosed location and delivering him safely and on time to Main Street Square promptly at 2 pm on Saturday. We hope you can be there to help ring in the Holiday Season!

For questions or comment related to this press release, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer for the RCFD or Mr. Alabaster Snowball, Press Secretary for Santa Claus.

-END-


Monday, November 13, 2017

RCFD to Host EMT Course

Course will provide entry level EMS education to the public.


Rapid City, S.D. - The Rapid City Fire Department is hosting an EMT Course that is open to the public. The purpose of this class is to provide entry level EMS education to the public.

When: Class begins January 8, 2018 and runs through April 17, 2018. Classes will be held on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6:00-10:00 pm.
Where: Classes will be held at 1205 N. Maple Ave (Old Fire Station 7).
Cost: $850. This includes the cost of the book. All fees are due lo later than January 8 and must be paid in full before class begins.

Class size is limited to 10 students. For more information, please contact Capt. Chris Jolley at (605)-394-4180, Monday through Friday between 8 am and 4 pm.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Eight Begin Careers as Rapid City Firefighters

The new recruits will be assigned to Medic Units until completion of a 2018 Fire Academy.



Pictured, top row, L to R: Cory Eberle, Ryan Nelson, Brandon Lliteras, Karl Bodensteiner
Pictured, bottom row, L to R: Steven Gilbert, Randy Albright, James Swango, David Rohlf

Rapid City, S.D. - Today, eight individuals will begin their careers as Rapid City Firefighters. The eight employees have completed initial training to be able to work on RCFD ambulances. The eight will be assigned strictly to Medic Units until completion of a longer, more formal academy- which will include fire and rescue training- sometime in 2018.

Randy Albright- Randy is originally from Minnesota. Recruit Albright has eight seasons of experience as a wildland firefighter with the United States Forest Service, with seven of those seasons spent in the Black Hills. Randy has prior Emergency Medical Services (EMS) experience as a member of the Piedmont Ambulance Service.

Karl Bodensteiner- Karl is a life-long resident of Rapid City. Recruit Bodensteiner is certified as an Advanced EMT and has worked for the Rosebud Ambulance Service for six years. Karl is currently enrolled in Paramedic school at Western Dakota Technical Institute. Karl and his wife have eight children and live on a small hobby farm near Rapid City.

Cory Eberle- Recruit Eberle was born and raised in Sioux Falls and obtained a bachelors degree in Exercise Science from the University of Sioux Falls. He is recently married and enjoys mountain biking and running during his free time.

Steven Gilbert- Recruit Gilbert is a 2010 graduate of Rapid City Stevens High School and a graduate of Minnesota State University with a degree in Biology. Steven has prior experience in emergency medicine as a Technician in the Emergency Department in a Mankato, MN area hospital. In his spare time, Steven enjoys rock climbing and outdoors activities.

Brandon Lliteras- Brandon was born and raised in Chadron, Nebraska and has been a member of the Chadron Volunteer Fire Department since 2004. Recruit Lliteras obtained a degree in Fire Science from Casper College in 2006 and his Paramedic certification in 2012. Since 2012, Brandon has been a Paramedic with the Oglala Sioux Tribe Ambulance Service.

Ryan Nelson- Recruit Nelson is a 2012 graduate of Rapid City Stevens High School. Ryan has previous experience in Emergency Services as both an EMT with the Keystone Ambulance Service and as a Firefighter with the Black Hawk Fire Department. Ryan enjoys outdoors activities in his spare time. He and his wife are expecting their first child in November.

David Rohlf- David was raised in Belle Fourche, S.D. and is a 2014 graduate of Belle Fourche High School. Recruit Rohlf has been active in Emergency Services since 2014 as a member of the Belle Fourche Fire Department and as a member of the Rapid Valley Fire Department since 2015. In 2017, David graduated from Western Dakota Tech with a degree in Paramedicine. 

James Swango- Recruit Swango was born and raised in Livingston, Montana and moved to Rapid City in 1999. Because of his small town upbringing, he has a love for wide-open spaces and enjoys fly-fishing and backpacking with his children and wife. Since 2015, James has been a member of the Piedmont Ambulance Service and a member of the Piedmont Fire Department since 2016.

Congratulations and welcome to these eight fine individuals. We are pleased to welcome them to the Rapid City Fire Department Family. 

For media inquiries, questions or comment related to this release, please contact the Rapid City Fire Department at (605)-394-4180.

-END-

Fire Damages Residence on Southwest Side

Firefighters quickly knock down kitchen fire


Rapid City, S.D- On Saturday evening, Rapid City Firefighters responded to a kitchen fire that temporarily displaced a family and caused smoke damage to a home. At 9:44 pm on October 21, Rapid City Firefighters were dispatched to a report of a kitchen fire at 2609 Minnetonka Drive on the southwest side of the city. When crews arrived, smoke was coming from the front door of the home.

When firefighters entered the structure, they found a fire in the kitchen of the residence. They were able to quickly put out the fire. A thorough check of the home found that no fire had extended into the walls or ceiling of the home. Moderate smoke damage was sustained throughout the home.


The occupants of the home were able to quickly evacuate and call 9-1-1. None of the occupants at home during the fire were injured. The American Red Cross, serving Central and Western South Dakota, arrived on scene to assist the occupants of the home with immediate needs.

The cause of the fire was determined to have been accidental and remains under investigation. 

The Rapid City Fire Department would like to take this opportunity to remind citizens that fires grow quickly. Because of modern furnishings and modern construction, the amount of time that you have to escape a burning home is less than ever before. Know two ways out of every room in your home. In addition to having two ways out, make sure smoke alarms are installed outside of each sleeping area, test your smoke alarms monthly, and practice your home fire escape plan. Your escape plan should include a meeting place in front of the home. For more information on smoke alarms and exit planning, please contact the Rapid City Fire Departments Fire and Life Safety Division at (605)-394-5233. 

For media inquiries, questions or comments related to this release, please contact the Rapid City Fire Department Fire at (605)-394-4180.

-END-


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Afternoon Fire Heavily Damages Southwest Rapid City Home



Rapid City, S.D. - Just before 4:20 pm, multiple companies from the Rapid City Fire Department as well as the Whispering Pines Fire Department were dispatched to a report of a structure fire at 6835 Sahalee Dr. At the time of dispatch, Pennington County 9-1-1 had received multiple calls reporting the fire. In addition to the numerous 9-1-1 calls, Rapid City Fire Headquarters also received a flurry of calls reporting the fire. A very large, dark column of smoke was clearly visible from all areas of Rapid City.

When crews from Fire Station 6 arrived on scene, they reported a single family dwelling that was heavily involved in fire. The fire was threatening an adjacent structure. Crews were able to quickly begin applying water to the fire  in the building of origin and protecting the adjacent structure simultaneously. Fire Engine 5 arrived shortly after Engine 6 and was able to obtain a water supply from a nearby hydrant.

The main fire was knocked down by 5 pm. Crews were able to locate and extinguish many hot spots by about 7:30 pm. A Rapid City Fire Department crew will remain on scene well into the night to ensure no additional hot spots flare up. An adjacent structure sustained minor damage as a result of radiant heat from the building of origin.

No one was home at the time of the fire and there were no injuries to civilians. A number of family pets did not survive the fire and a number of others are unaccounted for at the time of this release. One firefighter was treated for heat related illness.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Rapid City Fire Department Fire and Life Safety Division. The American Red Cross serving Central and Western South Dakota was on scene to provide assistance to the displaced occupants.

The RCFD would like to thank Pennington County Fire, the Whispering Pines Fire Department, the North Haines Fire Department, Montana Dakota Utilities, Black Hills Energy, and the Rapid City Police Department and Pennington County 9-1-1 Communications for their prompt, professional assistance with today's fire.

The RCFD would like to take the opportunity to remind the public that unnecessary traffic in the area of an emergency scene can create difficulty for responders. While we understand that many times there is a good deal of public interest in incidents such as a building fire, that interest can hinder emergency response. In the event of such an emergency, please choose an alternate route if possible or avoid the area until the response is completed to allow responders to easily navigate the area around the scene.

An update regarding this incident is not anticipated at this time. Please contact Lt. Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer with the Rapid City Fire Department, at (605)-394-4180 for questions or comment related to this release.

-END-

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Update on Crash Involving RCFD Ambulance

Drivers reminded to yield to emergency vehicles





Rapid City, S.D. – The crash that occurred yesterday at 5th and Omaha Streets involving a Rapid City Fire Department ambulance was investigated by the Rapid City Police Department. According to the RCPD:

The ambulance was westbound on Omaha Street with its emergency lights and sirens activated. As the ambulance approached the intersection with 5th street, it encountered several vehicles stopped at the intersection in the through lanes of traffic. In order to make its way through the intersection, it stopped in the left-hand turn lanes, made sure traffic was clear of the intersection, and proceeded with a right turn to go north on 5th street. As it did so, a passenger vehicle in one of the westbound through lanes on Omaha Street attempted to continue straight through the intersection. The passenger vehicle struck the passenger side of the ambulance. The driver of this vehicle was cited for Failure to Yield to an Emergency Vehicle.

Both Rapid City Fire Department Paramedics involved in the crash were transported to Rapid City Regional Hospital. They were evaluated and released.

As a reminder, the Rapid City Fire Department will take this opportunity to remind the public to come to a complete stop when encountering emergency vehicles with their lights and siren activated. Where reasonably possible, pull to the right and stop when you see flashing emergency lights or hear a siren. Come to a complete stop and wait until the emergency vehicle has passed. 

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

-END-

Monday, August 28, 2017


RCFD Ambulance Involved in Crash

Rapid City, S.D. – Just before 11 am this morning a Rapid City Fire Department ambulance was responding to a medical emergency in north Rapid City when it was involved in a crash. The ambulance and crew, whose call sign is Medic 1, was traveling west on Omaha Street toward 5th St. The ambulance and crew were in the inside westbound lane and had come to a stop in preparation to make a right hand turn to go north on 5th St. A vehicle traveling west collided with the ambulance in the intersection. The ambulance was impacted in the front passenger door. The impact temporarily trapped the Paramedic in the passenger seat.

The crew, despite the collision, remained calm and immediately requested that an ambulance respond to the initial 9-1-1 call for service. Units responding to the crash scene were quickly able to access both medics and begin treatment as well as attend to the occupant of the other vehicle. Three individuals were transported to a local hospital including both crew members of Medic 1. All three individuals sustained non-life threatening injuries.

The Rapid City Police Department is investigating the circumstances surrounding the crash. The specific details are not available at this time. A reserve ambulance from the RCFD fleet has already been brought in and is staffed with an Advanced Life Support Crew.

The Rapid City Fire Department would like to take this opportunity to remind the public to come to a complete stop when encountering emergency vehicles with their lights and siren activated. Where reasonably possible, pull to the right and stop when you see flashing emergency lights or hear a siren. Come to a complete stop and wait until the emergency vehicle has passed.

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

-END-


Friday, August 25, 2017

Ode to a Fire Engine, or Something Like That

by Lt. Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer



"I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire truck."
-Kurt Vonnegut

In the fire service retirements are a big deal. They should be. A fire service retirement is generally significant but never more so than when a member of the department retires after a long and distinguished career. Because of the nature of the job, the arduous physical demands placed on the member, and the exposure to a litany of hazards, a long career is an achievement to be celebrated. These celebrated retirements are not exclusive to firefighters but to fire apparatus as well. In fact, there are occasions in which the retirement of an apparatus may be far more poignant and emotional than that of a firefighter. That is certainly how I feel about the retirement of Engine 3.

It is my humble opinion that Vonnegut's observation regarding the emotions evoked when one sees a fire engine is accurate. I think this is especially the case for the firefighter. I believe that there are very few, if any, things in this world that stimulate the wide range of feelings and emotions that I experience when I see a fire apparatus rolling down the street. After sixteen years in the fire service and thirteen years with the Rapid City Fire Department, I still swell with pride when I see one of our engines or trucks with her lights flashing and siren wailing. "My" truck and "my" firefighters, doing something I've seen and participated in thousands of times, still, and to this day, will stop me in my tracks. For anyone who has never experienced the fire service from our side, what I just attempted to convey may not make sense.

So, it is for the reasons I pointed out a moment ago, that the retirement of a fire apparatus is a big deal. For many firefighters, as it was the case for me, the fire service is by-and-large responsible for maturation and growth sufficient to truly deliver one into adulthood. The fire engine is central to that delivery. The fire engine carries us to many of the experiences that help to cultivate growth and maturation. When those stories are recounted later on, they almost invariably begin with, "I was on Engine (insert number here)". While the people and human relationships and interactions are so very important to the fire service, it's the fire engine that is the focal point.
  
I was hired by the Rapid City Fire Department in 2004. My first station and shift assignment was Station 3 on C Shift. 
Above: Station 3, C Shift crew, December 2004
Pictured, L to R: Firefighter/Paramedic Casey Warren (Ret.), Firefighter/Medic Bill Reishus (Ret.), Lt. Joe Gilles (currently the Captain at Fire Station 8), Firefighter/Medic Mark Raderschadt (currently the C Shift Lieutenant at Station 1), and myself.

Our fire engine at Station 3 was the oldest one in the fleet. It reminded me of a line from the AC/DC song Whole Lotta Rosie; "She ain't exactly pretty. Ain't exactly small". Engine 3 was a 1987 Pierce Arrow and, in 2004, was already 17 years old. It was easily identifiable because of its color, bright yellow. Back in the 1980's, many fire departments went to yellow as a primary color for fire engines because they felt it added a measure of visibility. The Rapid City Fire Department also adopted this idea and went to yellow fire engines until around 1993 when our organization again went back to purchasing traditional red fire engines. When I hit the floor in 2004, Engine 3 and a reserve engine at Station 1 were the last remaining yellow engines in the RCFD fleet.

I had a love/hate relationship with our engine. I was profoundly grateful for the chance to ride in a fire engine that said "Rapid City" on the side. It had an open cab back and only a seat-belt and safety bar separated the rear-facing firefighter from the pavement. During the summer I loved the open cab. During the winter I hated it. There wasn't a lot of storage room in Engine 3. Medical gear was stored in an outside compartment. If you were in the back seat, there was no room for turnout gear when you weren't wearing them. It was loud and fairly uncomfortable. But, man, that engine could pump water. 

A huge part of a driver/operators job is to operate the pump. Learning to operate the pump often proves to be a difficult topic for many firefighters. The ability to proficiently pump water on a fire is truly one that could mean the difference between saving a building or losing a building. That skill is also one that could be the difference between life and death. One thing was always for certain: If water wasn't coming out of Engine 3, it had to be operator error. There was no two-ways about it. The water pump on Engine 3 was about as reliable as you would ever find on a fire engine. It never failed a pump test in 30 years of service. Any operator who learned how to proficiently pump water from that particular engine would certainly be able to proficiently pump water out of any other apparatus that we had.

Engine 3 could also go just about anywhere we needed it to go. It had good clearance, was dependable in the snow and ice, and maneuvered around the hills and streets of West Rapid City without issues. No one that rode in it ever had to wonder if they could get where they needed to go or if the engine could perform once we got there. It wasn't flashy or shiny. It was effective and dependable and it served the citizens of Rapid City well. 

Since 1987, that yellow Pierce Arrow known as Engine 3 has been serving the citizens of the Rapid City area which makes it our second longest tenured "member". In early 2006, it was replaced with a brand new Quint. With the arrival of Quint 3 and its new state-of-the-art technology, Engine 3 was pushed into reserve status. When I think back to the innumerable incidents that it's been part of, several things strike me. The importance of this vehicle to the organization, the firefighters that rode on it, and the community really hit home. Incidents that may not necessarily stand out to our firefighters are sentinel moments in the lives of the people whose emergencies it responded to. Since 1987, water from the pump of Engine 3 was sprayed on many of the biggest fires our city has seen. Engine 3 was on scene at the Sweeney and Federal Beef fires and provided protection for countless structures in and around Rapid City for a number of significant wildland fires just to name a very few. This particular engine was in service during the 1988 Westberry Trails Fire. Time has forgotten more fires that Engine 3 responded to than most of our newest members will ever see.

Earlier this month, the Rapid City Fire Department welcomed a new engine to the fleet which will be housed and run out of Station 7. The new engine has increased storage, a larger motor, and the capability to carry gear to respond to a variety of technical rescue situations. The engine previously housed at Station 7 will move to Station 5 and take the place of a 2001 Pierce that is nearing the end of its service life. With the 2001 engine moving into a reserve role, Old Engine 3 will be forced into retirement. What will become of it, no one is sure at this point. 
Above: The new Engine 7 as during a ceremony to put it in-service. The new Rescue/Pumper will be housed at Station 7 in North Rapid.

To firefighters, the retirement of a fire engine is not generally something that is viewed as simply replacing one vehicle with another. For a select few of us a fire engine becomes more about who we are as people than what we do as firefighters. There is a reason that some cities devote a good deal of space and funding to museums built to memorialize these apparatus. Not everyone shares our sentiments. To some people in the community replacing a fire engine is a necessary evil. It represents an expenditure that they don't necessarily understand. Although Engine 3 has much sentimental value to many of us, the fact remains that it simply became time to replace it.

Parallels can continue to be drawn between firefighters and the fire engines that they ride on. After extended use, abuse and wear and tear, both can become obsolete. In some cases, the career of either may outlast their usefulness. In only a couple short decades, the mission of both the fire service as a whole and the Rapid City Fire Department has changed greatly. Versatility and the ability to respond to any emergency, any place and at any time are key. When Engine 3 was designed and built, firefighters only responded to fires. Response to medical emergencies, hazardous materials events and technical rescues did not come until later on and, certainly for our organization, not in earnest until 1994. Response to these incidents requires more equipment, more versatility and more capabilities than Engine 3 was designed for.

When a member, be they a firefighter or a fire apparatus, becomes unable to function in a versatile role, it becomes time to reevaluate the role the member will play in the organization. Inevitably, the time will come for every firefighter and every fire apparatus to retire and be replaced with a newer, more capable model. In my opinion, the thing that is most impressive is that it took 3 three decades to finally find a replacement suitable for Engine 3. 

For questions related to this post, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell at (605)-394-4180.

-END-

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

RCFD Offers Safety Reminder For Bicyclists, Drivers

Three bicycle vs car crashes in 24 hours prompts reminder


Rapid City, S.D. - Between the hours of 2:00 pm Monday and 7:00 am Tuesday, the Rapid City Police and Rapid City Fire Departments have responded to three bicycle vs vehicle crashes that have resulted in injury. Fortunately, none of the injuries sustained by bicyclists have been serious.

The Rapid City Fire Department would like to take the opportunity to remind motorists and bicyclists that safety is a two way street. Both bicyclists and motorists must remain attentive and alert.

Some safety tips for bicyclists include:

-Bicyclists should be prepared before they hit the road. Wear clothing and equipment to make themselves more visible to others. 

-Bicyclists should always wear a bike helmet. 

-Ride defensively, focused and alert. Anticipate what others may do before they do it. Ride with the flow, in the same direction as traffic. Always assume the other person doesn't see you.

-Bicyclists are required by state law to stop before entering the road. Accidents often happen when cyclists enter the street without stopping. Teach your children to always stop and look for cars before entering the street.

Some safety tips for motorists include:

-Yield to bicyclists the same as you would to other motorists and do not underestimate their speed. This will help avoid turning in front of a bicyclist.

-In parking lots, at stop signs, when backing up, or when parking, search your surroundings for other vehicles, including bicycles.

-Give cyclists room. Do not pass too closely. Pass bicyclists as you would and other vehicle- when it's safe to move over into an adjacent lane.

As school for the 2017-2018 school year gets underway, now is a good time to review these simple steps to safely share the road. For more information on bicyclist and motorist safety, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website by clicking here.

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

-END-



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


-END-





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.

-END-


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.

-END-

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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Friday, April 7, 2017

RCFD Battles Midnight Structure Fire

No injuries reported, cause under investigation


Rapid City, S.D. - Crews from four Rapid City fire stations battled a structure fire in the 400 block of North Spruce St. on the city's north-side. At 11:54 pm Thursday night, Rapid City/Pennington County 9-1-1 dispatched a report of a structure fire in the area of E. Denver and N. Spruce Streets. Initial callers reported flames and smoke coming from the building.

Within moments, crews arrived on scene at 420 North Spruce St. to find heavy smoke and flames showing from the wood-frame, residential dwelling. Bystanders reported the structure to be un-occupied. Crews making entry into the building performed multiple searches to confirm that there were indeed no occupants inside the building. None were found and no injuries to civilian or Fire Service personnel were reported.

It took crews about 30 minutes to access and extinguish all of the fire inside the structure. Crews remained on scene for a total of about 3 hours to ensure no hot spots remained. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

Responding to the fire were crews from Stations 1, 3, 4 and 7. Pennington County Fire Administrator Jerome Harvey was on scene to assist the Incident Commander. Also responding to the fire was Pennington County Search and Rescue, the Rapid City Police Department, Montana Dakota Utilities and Black Hills Energy. 

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


Above: Crews work to remove glass from a window to help ventilate the structure.

Above: Heavy smoke billows from the structure back-lit by emergency lights from apparatus parked on North Spruce St. 


Above: The crew from Truck 1 works to force open an exterior door to the basement of the structure to search for potential victims. 


Above: Jacob Maggart (lt) and Andrew Rasmussen (rt) from Squad 1 extinguish exterior hot spots.


Above: First arriving crews found heavy smoke and fire conditions in the structure.

-END-

Thursday, March 2, 2017

RCFD Responds to Second Fire in Same Location

Cause of second fire is under investigation


Rapid City, S.D. - Within minutes of leaving from an earlier structure fire, the Rapid City Fire Department responded to the Colonial Motel for a report of a structure fire. Just after 1:30 am, crews responded to a report of flames coming from the same building that was damaged in an earlier fire. When units arrived, a heavy volume of fire was coming from the roof and windows of the south building of the motel complex.

Crews were able to quickly knock down the flames. A search of the building was conducted to ensure that no one was trapped. No injuries were reported as a result of the fire or firefighting activities.

A RCFD crew and investigator had left the property approximately 15 minutes prior to the second reported fire. The circumstances surrounding the second fire are suspicious and the fire is under investigation.

Once again, the Rapid City Fire Department wishes to extend it's thanks to the Rapid City Police Department and Pennington County Fire Administrator Jerome Harvey for their assistance. 

An update to this release is not anticipated at this time.

Please contact the Rapid City Fire Department at (605)-394-4180 for questions related to this release.

Above: Truck 1 crews stretch a hose-line to attack the second fire of the evening at 511 E. North.

RCFD Responds to Overnight Structure Fire

No injuries reported, investigation into cause is underway


Rapid City, S.D. - A late night fire damaged a portion of the Colonial Motel on E. North St. on Wednesday. Just after 11:00 pm, crews from stations 1, 3, 4 and 7 responded to a report of a structure fire at the corner of E. Denver and N. Lacrosse streets. Rapid City Police Department units in the area arrived shortly after the initial 9-1-1 call and reported smoke and flames showing from the southern most building in the motel complex. The first arriving fire units found heavy fire showing from a door and windows on the north side of the building.

Crews were able to quickly knock down the main fire and perform a search of the building to ensure that there were no trapped victims. Crews remained on scene for about two hours to extinguish hot spots. During the fire, a portion of N. Lacrosse St. was closed to traffic.

As of about 1:30 am, an investigator was on scene. There is no information on the cause of the fire at this time.

No firefighter or civilian injuries were reported as a result of the fire or firefighting effort.

The Rapid City Fire Department would like to thank the Rapid City Police Department, Montana Dakota Utilities and Pennington County Fire Administrator Jerome Harvey for their professional assistance during the incident.

Updated releases related to this incident are not 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.
Above: First arriving crews were met with heavy smoke and fire.

Above: Crews work to extinguish fire in multiple units of the Colonial Motel.

Above: Firefighter Eric O'Conner cuts a hole in the roof of the Colonial Motel to release trapped heat and smoke.

Above: Firefighter Eric O'Conner (L) and Capt. Calen Maningas (R) complete roof operations at the Colonial Motel. Their assignment was to establish a ventilation hole in the roof to release trapped heat and smoke.

 
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