Boise firefighters train for cliffside rescues ahead of ski season

Posted at 8:51 PM, Nov 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-12 23:31:32-05

BOISE, Idaho — With winter right around the corner, more and more people will be heading up Bogus Basin Road to hit the slopes, so Tuesday afternoon, the Boise Fire Department worked to prepare themselves for an emergency on the mountain.

Every winter, the department sees 6-10 accidents on Bogus Basin Road where a car heading up or down the mountain ends up off the road and down a steep embankment, sometimes turning deadly.

In an effort to stay fresh on training procedures, Boise firefighters train every Fall on how to safely get down the mountainside and bring potential victims back up.

"Our technical rescue team uses what's called a Capstan system," Boise Fire Captain Earle Swope said. "So they can use that to tension the ropes to bring a patient and the rescuers up with what used to take us elaborate rope systems and eight to 12 rescuers."

With icy conditions all but guaranteed at throughout the season, the department uses specialized winter response vehicles like a 4-wheel drive truck and a brush rig to make the rescue, rather than risk a traditional truck in dangerous driving conditions.

"The snow makes it a lot sloppier and more difficult but we still end up getting the job done," Swope said. "Hopefully people listen to this and drive slower and safer up the road."