HGH EMS Rope Rescue Team Transports Patient by Crane

It was a very unusual transport, but HGH EMS Rescue Chief Pat Songer says the rope rescue of an injured construction worker was what his team was trained to do.

“I’m so proud of our people,” said Chief Songer. “This is the kind of thing you train for—these once-in-a-career rescues.”

The worker was injured Monday, September 19, at the construction site of the City of Winnemucca’s new wastewater treatment plant on Jungo Road.

The patient was downed after a pipe hit him in the back. Chief Songer said there were two main concerns. First, access to the man was very limited, as he was located about 15 feet below ground level. Second, crews were very concerned about a possible spinal injury.

So the rescuers came up with a plan. After paramedics stabilized the man, they placed him in a rescue basket. Then together, HGH EMS Rescue Paramedic Jordan Kohler and the patient were lifted by crane from the accident site to a waiting helicopter.

The crane was already at the construction site at the time of the accident, said Chief Songer, “so it worked out perfectly, especially with a very skilled operator.”

The patient was then taken to a Reno hospital for treatment.

Chief Songer said HGH EMS Rescue’s industrial rope rescue team is specially trained for high angle and low angle rescues.

“That special training is what helps lead to good rescue outcomes,” he said. “Without that training, we could see very different scenarios in what we do.”

While the rescue was a very unusual one, Chief Songer said it’s what his team prepares for. “When we train, we’re not always looking for the common, everyday rescue; I’m not sure those exist,” he said. “We are always thinking about this possibility or that possibility so we can be trained for the next situation.”

He added, “We are very happy with the outcome of this rescue and the invaluable help of the construction team on site—especially the crane operator—as well as the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office for providing great backup.”

“We are very fortunate to have this team and these resources in our community.”