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Northeast Alabama responders trained in real life scenario rope rescues at Buck’s Pocket State Park

DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. --  Responders from fire departments across northeast Alabama trained in real life scenario rope rescues Thursday, as part of extensive training for those situations.

More than a dozen firefighters from all over northeast Alabama trained at Buck's Pocket State Park Thursday. "We've simulated a 14-year-old falling off, 40 feet off of an ultimately 100 foot cliff, and we're sending people down there to rescue him, package him up," said scenario incident commander Doug Kubik, "What it does is it puts all of our skills that we've learned in the classroom and the training field together."

Kubik works for Albertville Fire and Rescue, one of the fire departments involved in the training. "If there was a person down there for real, it would be exactly the same way," Kubik added, "So we're really big on safety and we're really big on having all of our equipment together, and everyone knows their job."

The group of more than a dozen responders go through the motions they've been taught all week, stationed at the edge of a cliff at Buck's Pocket State Park.

"There are a group of teams from the tri-county area that get together. It's called the Heavy Rescue Team, and we would be involved, maybe work together if a scenario like this happened," Kubik said, "So there are the odds that the folks learning here today will end up, even if they're from a different fire department, working together again."

In DeKalb, Jackson, and Marshall Counties, where the responders involved in the training are from, this type of rescue isn't uncommon. "We're at the bottom of the Appalachians here," Kubik explained, "So you could be just on a side of the road, a car run off of a steep incline, to these kind of cliffs, all the way to a cave rescue to where folks are deep inside the ground."

During the Summer especially, the responders have to be ready for this situation. "Summer's coming up and more folks are getting out, and backpacking or hiking through," Kubik said.

The responders still have to take a written test and perform their skills. The training is done through the Alabama Fire College.