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Boise firefighters prepare for winter rescues along Bogus Basin Road

The fire department responds to multiple slide-offs along the road each winter.

BOISE, Idaho — The Boise Fire Department responds to almost 10 slide-offs on Bogus Basin Road each winter, due to the slick road conditions. 

Because of those emergencies, the department practices its rescue training techniques each year right before winter hits to be prepared.  

On Tuesday, firefighters worked to extricate and rescue two "victims" from the bottom of a steep, rocky ridge. 

Crews use a capstan system, a type of power wench designed specifically for rescues.  

"They can tension the ropes and bring the patients and the rescuers up with what used to take us elaborate rope systems and 8 to 12 rescuers,” said Boise Fire Capt. Earle Swope. 

Another captain, Brent  Matthews, has been a part of the BFD Special Operations team for 15 years and has taken part in multiple training exercises. 

He takes away something new each time, and says the goal is to prepare for as many different scenarios as possible. 

According to Matthews, these types of exercises not only provide technical experience but also a chance to focus on teamwork and communication. 

“It seems like when anything goes bad on any of our emergency scenes, the first thing that goes wrong is communication,” he said. "So as often as we can work on our communication with each other and do that kind of thing, we learn and we benefit from it.”

Swope agrees that it's important to make sure the rescue crews work like a well-oiled machine when it comes to emergencies. 

Because Boise is a very outdoor-focused community, different types of rescue and emergency training exercises not only benefit first responders but the community as well. 

“Having us train for those types of scenarios makes the citizens of Boise safer in every way possible,” Matthews said. 

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