Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia
Story By Tommy Stafford
Photos & Video By Marcie Gates
“Ravens Roost has a lot of recreational climbing and over the years there have been a number of serious accidents requiring us to go over the 100-foot cliff.” And that’s exactly why Wintergreen Fire & Rescue Chief Curtis Sheets says they train approximately once a quarter throughout the year to be ready when the call comes.
Click play above to see some of the preparations involved in going over the cliff!
“We were trying to use our ladder truck as an elevated anchor point to see if it would work. We aren’t allowed to use the ladder truck as a crane, and we can’t exceed the tip load of the basket, but we were trying it as an elevated anchor point to lower down in. At the end of the day it worked ok, but we decided as a group that there are better options and we will not use it in that way moving forward. But we needed to test it,” Chief Sheets explains.
“We have a rope team. We have three shifts at Wintergreen, so we have a couple of rope team members on each of the shifts and they practice in pairs when they are on duty. But then we try to come together quarterly to practice, that doesn’t always happen, with everyone in one place at one time. It’s not all about rock faces. Just imagine someone on the rooftop of a condo at Wintergreen that has a seizure or an allergic reaction. The rope work is important.” Chief Curtis Sheets – Wintergreen Fire & Rescue
“It’s kind of like everything else it comes and goes in spurts. We can go an entire year and not do any of it. Ot we can do a couple of them back to back. It’s not just at Wintergreen, we could deploy our rope team to Crabtree Falls, or any other place in the county where are needed.”