The Pōhakuloa Training Area posted photos to social media Friday, March 11 of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park PTA firefighters and first responders participating in high-angle rope rescue training.
The training took place from February 22 to 25.
HVNP brought in instructors from Colorado and California who have extensive experience in this type of rescue. High-angle rescue uses ropes and climbing devices to raise and lower rescuers and victims from hard-to-reach places, the PTA’s Facebook post reads. Participants practiced descending into the Kīlauea Caldera from the Rim Trail and learned how to rig anchors using trees, rocks, and other methods.
“This training will increase PTA’s rescue capabilities in the event first responders need to perform a high-angle rescue, such as on Mauna Kea,” the post read.
Kevin Cronin, U.S. Army Garrison Commander at the PTA, said the last time PTA first responders used a high-angle rescue was in December.
“Someone on Maunakea slipped over the edge several hundred feet,” Cronin told Big Island Now. “They were covered in snow, it was sunset time.”
Cronin said conditions were difficult and PTA firefighters set up a rope rescue system to descend to the victim. With the help of the Hawai’i Fire Department, they were able to get the woman back to higher ground to safety.
“By doing these trainings with first responders all over the island, it builds relationships,” Cronin said. “It makes the response to the crisis much more efficient.”
PTA conducts trainings with first responder agencies throughout the island.
“We’re really grateful to the park for including us,” Cronin said of practice last month. “We were able to learn the latest techniques and develop the confidence to perform these rescues on our own.”
PTA is the first responder in the Saddle region – including Daniel K. Inouye Highway, Maunakea and Mauna Loa – a size of nearly 500 square miles.