Fire Department training session turns real

Fire department photo

A recent Fairfax County Fire and Rescue training session turned real over the weekend as rescue crews rescued a fallen hiker and retrieved a lost child at Great Falls National Park, as told in this first-person account.

By Randal Bittinger, Captain II
Fire Station 39, North Point, B-Shift

On Saturday, April 15, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Technical Rescue team conducted training at Great Falls National Park on the Potomac River. During this training the Fairfax County 911 center alerted the team that an adult male had fallen approximately 40 feet down the rock face along the Potomac. Rescue crews immediately responded and provided emergency care for the injured man. The rescue crews transported the injured man by boat to the U.S. Park Police helicopter for transport to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

As the young man was being loaded onto the helicopter, the rescue team received another emergency call that there was a missing child on the park grounds. The park was extremely crowded on Saturday due to the nice weather and the free park admission weekend. An organized search was implemented by the fire department members and park rangers. The young girl was located by firefighters in less than 10 minutes along the trails of the park. She was safely reunited with her family.

While our crews were originally at the park for training, it turned out we were at the right place, at the right time, to provide assistance on two calls for help.

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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.