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Marshall FD prepares to form new rescue team

MARSHALL — Not all emergencies happen at ground level — especially in industry and agriculture, said Marshall Fire Chief Quentin Brunsvold. It’s a big part of the reason why Brunsvold brought a request for tactical rescue equipment to the Marshall City Council last week.

Tactical rescue is a broad category, but as Brunsvold described it to council members, it would involve “Anything at heights, anything in a confined space within reason, anywhere that would need to be rigged up with rope.” Examples could include rescues involving industrial settings, elevator shafts or even farm equipment like grain augers. It’s an area that the Marshall Fire Department currently doesn’t have a lot of training in, Brunsvold said. And he hoped to change that.

On Oct. 13, council members approved a request for the fire department to purchase $6,065 worth of rescue equipment. But they also talked about the need for a tactical rescue team in the Marshall area.

“We used to be provided services from the Yellow Medicine County tactical rescue team. In the last 18 months, it’s been disbanded. They are no longer in service,” Brunsvold said. A new tactical rescue team has been formed in the Olivia area, but the move would make it harder for team members to assist emergency responders in the Marshall area.

“At a minimum they would be more than 90 minutes away in the event of an incident like this. I saw a great need for something like this to be closer to home for us, especially with the industry in our city,” he said.

Last year, the fire department was able to purchase some needed tactical rescue equipment like rope, harnesses and helmets, Brunsvold said. The $6,000 quote he brought to the city council would cover the cost of additional equipment like pulleys, rope bags and anchor plates.

“I fully support this, and appreciate the fire department taking on another responsibility with both training and service,” said council member Craig Schafer.

Besides equipment costs, Brunsvold said forming a tactical rescue team would also take time and training.

“It’s more than tying knots,” Brunsvold said. The Marshall Fire Department would need to crawl before it could walk when it came to tactical rescue, and the equipment purchase would help firefighters get to the crawling stage, he said.

Brunsvold said it will likely take 12 to 18 months to train firefighters on tactical rescue. The training costs would come to about $600 per person. However, he said the fire department may have grant opportunities or other assistance from the Minnesota Board of Firefighter Training and Education.

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