Equipped for ‘high-angle rescues’

Marshall firefighters to start training for rescue team, chemical assessment

Photo by Deb Gau Marshall Fire Chief Quentin Brunsvold held up examples of the harnesses and helmets that are part of tactical rescue equipment. The gear will allow the Marshall Fire Department to respond to farming and industrial accidents where a victim may need to be rescued from a high place.

MARSHALL — Back in October of 2020, Marshall Fire Chief Quentin Brunsvold went before the city council requesting funding to purchase tactical rescue equipment.

He told the council not all emergencies happen at the ground level. He gave examples of rescues involving industrial settings, elevator shafts or even farm equipment like grain augers.

The council ended up approving the purchase of $6,065 worth of rescue equipment.

Last week, Brunsvold spoke to the Marshall Noon Rotary Club at Bello Cucina Restaurant in Marshall and gave an update on the formation of the tactical rescue team. He told the Rotary members that the team will begin training in February.

“That’s 60 hours of just ropes and knots,” he said. “We have about $25,000 in equipment that we have sitting around right now in boxes because we don’t know how to use it. But that’s the point of going through the training. Learning how to use it.”

Brunsvold told the Independent the fire department spent $12,000 from its budget and received donations to cover the total cost of the equipment. He believes the cost will be worth it because previously, a rescue team would have to travel from Olivia.

“If you got someone stuck on a grain elevator, and lets just say they have a medical emergency, we need to get them down. I really don’t want to wait an hour and a half to have someone come to provide that service to get that person down. Having that here in our city will be beneficial for everybody,” Brunsvold said.

The training involves dealing with mostly “high-angle rescues.”

“Feet are not on the ground, but also training at low-angle too,” he said. “That will be exciting for us. It’s an area not many people trained in before. We have a team that is assembled that will provide that service.”

Brunsvold also announced that seven Marshall firefighters are being cross-trained as hazardous materials technicians. He said the Marshall Fire Department assumed responsibility of the chemical assessment team which covers 14 counties in southwest Minnesota.

“Anytime there is a hazardous materials (incident) that happens within that area, they call the state duty officer for assistance, and that assistance comes essentially from the Marshall Fire Department,” Brunsvold said. “We have a truck full of equipment, trained staff.”

The truck and equipment is provided by the state of Minnesota. He stressed that the team only assesses the situation, but does not execute cleanup operations. That would come from a third-party vendor.

“It’s the last chemical assessment team in Minnesota to be housed under a fire department. There is a 11 total in the entire state.”


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