News Details
    Firefighters, a Hikers Best Friend

    DIABLO, CA - Most visitors to Mount Diablo enjoy the stunning views and picturesque trails throughout this 19,000 acre State Park, but some will find themselves in need. 

    On Saturday, April 6, a young man fell over 50 feet into a void located in the Sentinel Rock area of the park; he was conscious and alert, but badly injured, and unable to walk or climb. His friends were able to call for help and crews from Station 33, Station 35 and the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District's Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team out of Station 34 responded.

    "San Ramon Valley Firefighters have many advanced skills," said Battalion Chief Derek Krause. "Members of the USAR team and all Firefighters from Stations 33 and 35 train each year for this exact scenario, in this exact location - this rescue was seamless."

    Each year firefighters travel to Mount Diablo State Park to practice and hone their skills.  This regular training element is just one example of the many evolutions San Ramon Valley Firefighters drill to prepare for emergencies on the mountain.

    Once firefighters reached a landing above the hiker, they quickly built a technical rescue system and rappelled down to where he had fallen and began immediate medical care.  Next he was "packaged" and loaded into a rescue basket, brought down by two additional rescuers, and lowered to waiting firefighters who walked him out to safety.  The patient was then transported via San Ramon Valley Fire Ambulance to the landing site where the air ambulance, CALSTAR, flew him to the local trauma center.

    "he high level of services provided by San Ramon Valley Fire was one of the many reasons I was so drawn to this impressive organization,"said Fire Chief Paige Meyer, who was appointed Fire Chief just one month ago. "Firefighters in this valley are ready for anything, from a medical emergency to a hazardous materials spill to a house fire."

    The landscape of the San Ramon Valley boasts vast open spaces, lush hillsides, State and Regional Parks, rural communities, urban city centers and commercial buildings.  What makes the communities of Alamo, Blackhawk, Danville, Diablo, San Ramon and the Tassajara Valley so unique also provides a myriad of hazards. 

    "San Ramon Valley Firefighters have to be true renaissance men and women," said Training Chief John Duggan."The training regimen that all Firefighters undergo each year readies our crews for advanced life support medical emergencies, structure fires, wildland fires, various rope rescues, hazardous material events and multi-casualty incidents such as earthquakes."

    The young hiker is now home from the hospital recuperating from his injuries.  San Ramon Valley Firefighters would like to wish him a speedy recovery.

    The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District is an internationally-accredited special district that provides all-risk fire, rescue and emergency medical services to the communities of Alamo, Blackhawk, the Town of Danville, Diablo, the City of San Ramon, the southern area of Morgan Territory and the Tassajara Valley, in Northern California (Contra Costa County). The District's   service area encompasses approximately 155 square miles and serves a population of 170,000.

    Note to Editors: B roll and High Resolution Photographs are available of this rescue technique.

    About the Rescue Team
    The mission of the Rescue Team is to provide high quality technical rescue resources staffed with skilled and dedicated personnel that are available for immediate response. Additionally, team members provide district-wide rescue related training to non-team personnel. The team consists of approximately forty members. Many team members are also members of USAR Task Force 4 (CATF-4). CATF-4, based in Oakland, is one of several in California and operates under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). CATF-4 is a federal team which responds to disasters on a national level.

    The emergency response vehicle for the team, Urban Search and Rescue 134 (USAR134), is a Spartan/SVI Rescue Unit. The vehicle is equipped to handle a variety of incidents including confined space rescue, technically difficult auto extrication, swift water rescue, trench collapse rescue, structure collapse, and high and low angle rope rescue. USAR134 can also be called to a fire scene to act as the Rapid Intervention Crew (RIC). The primary role of the RIC is immediate rescue of down or trapped firefighters. The District also maintains a rescue equipment trailer for additional supplies such as trench rescue and shoring materials.

    In addition to the specialized response capabilities of the team, every engine and truck in the District meets an OES Basic level. These vehicles are stocked with tools used to augment rescue operations including ropes, cribbing, air bags, and cutting and prying tools. With such a large variety of incidents and specialized equipment, training is a vital and constant necessity of the team. In addition to the type of incidents discussed above, team members are also trained to the Hazardous Materials Operational level and receive focused training in Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).


    1500 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon CA 94583
    (925) 838-6600 |