The view from below shows Spring Grove Fire Department members, Brett Wiste, left, and Danny Neuzil, right, controlling a guideline while they keep a sharp eye on the rescue basket that fellow member, Tony Siminski, is in, close to 90 feet in the air at the Farmers Co-op Elevator. <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Photo by Craig Moorhead
The view from below shows Spring Grove Fire Department members, Brett Wiste, left, and Danny Neuzil, right, controlling a guideline while they keep a sharp eye on the rescue basket that fellow member, Tony Siminski, is in, close to 90 feet in the air at the Farmers Co-op Elevator.

Photo by Craig Moorhead
When Spring Grove volunteer firefighter Tony Siminski volunteered to take a ride in a rescue basket last weekend, he was trusting his life to two half-inch ropes.

Siminski made the last trip off a 90-foot high roof at Farmers Co-op Grain Elevator. Several others tested new rescue gear during the day-long session, and members will get the chance for more training this year, Fire Chief Daryl Melbostad said.

"This is our first training session with this equipment," Melbostad said. "We just got it last fall.

"Our trainer (rescue specialist Sam Jaquith) is simulating an actual rescue. Instead of using manikins, he chose to use live persons.

"This is what we utilize contributions from our fire district for. We send out letters asking for donations, and people have been very generous in responding. We spent somewhere around $12,000 on this equipment. Our people need to know how to utilize it."

As Siminski swung out over the edge, the basket rocked a bit but was steadied by the guideline from below, manned by Brett Wiste and Danny Neuzil.

Ropes, pulleys, harnesses, baskets - There was plenty of gear to learn about. Fire and rescue personnel not only practiced high/low angle extrications, they also worked on rappelling into challenging spots to help those in need.

Earlier in the day found department members on top of the Vaaler building downtown near the Legion Post.

"We can use this gear for things like grain bin extrication," Melbostad added. "But also for vehicle accidents where they go over a steep embankment or a residential area where somebody is trapped on an upstairs floor. You just never know when you're going to run into a need for this.

"We're basically an agricultural community. We have a lot of farm bins and some tall ag buildings. If something happens to somebody on one of those tall buildings we need to be able to evacuate them and get them medical treatment.

"We're planning to hold a few more sessions with this gear in some different settings."