Training For Cliff Rescues Along the Rims - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Training For Cliff Rescues Along the Rims

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Rappelling off the side of the Billings' rims is certainly not for everyone. But for the nearly one dozen rescue and recovery operations on average that take place along the high cliffs each year, this team is called in to get the job done.

And according to Captain Mark Paddock who heads up the Billings fire department's technical rescue team, said the new recruits in training are having a pretty good time with it.

"We have a great team. This new bunch are so excited about getting on the team, to start with. It's exciting and pretty fun to be up here," said Captain Paddock.

New recruit Craig Riske (pronounced "Risky") said being part of an operation like this is all about the team and everyone chipping in to get the job done.

"I think everybody strives to be the attendant going over the edge, that's the most fun part. What's not realized commonly is that the person going over gets the glory of the whole incident, but it's forgotten that there's a whole team backing up that person and that one person cannot go over without the whole team supporting that one person," said Riske.

That being said, he's also looking forward to the adrenaline rush of going off the side of the rims himself.

"At some point during this week we all get a chance to go over. We don't know when, we don't know where. But we'll go over," he said.

Captain Paddock said rescue operations that used to take nearly three hours when the team was first formed now can be accomplished in just one hour. And he believes this squad is ready for just about any rescue scenario along the rims.

"Billings has a beautiful set of rims that surround the city that we have people fall off of, climb on, get stuck, have equipment problems. And we're here to rescue them," said Captain Paddock.

With this new class being trained, the Billings fire department has 35 members trained on the technical rescue team. The team practices along the rims at least once a month.