Firefighters put their rescue skills to work in training exercise on Battleship Wisconsin

Posted at 7:58 PM, Oct 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-23 22:50:39-04

Norfolk, Va. - Firefighters from across Southside Hampton Roads put their confine space and rope rescue training skills to work aboard the Battleship Wisconsin on Wednesday.

The Southside Regional Technical Rescue Team simulated a rescue onboard the ship, where crews pulled a worker to safety after he became stuck in a tight space, with little air to breathe and time working against him.  Crews used rope, oxygen tanks and heavy equipment to get the job done.

In the exercise, firefighters with the cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach worked together to practice confine space and rope rescue training as if it were the real thing.

"It is very difficult and it's challenging, and that's what makes it so good about being able to come out here and train like this," said Capt. Nick Nelson of Norfolk Fire-Rescue.

The Battleship Wisconsin is not only a tourist attraction, but crew say that the ship is in a perfect location with an idea setup for training exercises like this in case a real-life emergency happens here in Hampton Roads on a ship.

"It's just great because it's an actual - it's a real boat, so everything in that is actual - the spaces, the size of the holes, and everything that we have to deal with, whether it's at the Shipyard, whether it's at a Navy vessel - wherever we happen to be, it gives us real-life training in a real-life experience," said Capt. Nelson.

The Southside Regional Technical Rescue Team conducts training exercises like this a few times a year.