3TV's Fields Moseley plays "victim" in rescue training

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PHOENIX -- When it comes to saving lives, there's no such thing as too much training, especially for those difficult situations that inevitably arise.

“These are what we all know as low-frequency high-risk rescues” said Capt. Scott Walker of the Phoenix Fire Department.

That high risk has Phoenix Police and Fire always practicing technical rescues, such as someone stuck in tight quarters, under a car, or trapped on the side of a mountain.

That kind of rescue is tricky, especially with new crews trying it for the first time.

“They've never been in a helicopter, never seen a helicopter,” Walker said.  “It's a brand new class of techs from across the valley.”

To finish up the training, the helicopter hoisted several “victims” off the ground near Cave Creek and Jomax roads Wednesday afternoon.

I volunteered to be one of those "victims" so I take a ride and see what the training was all about.

Using a helicopter seems like a normal way to rescue people, but it isn't.  It is the last resort because it is high risk. That means crews don't have to do it very often. That's why practice is so essential -- they can't afford mistakes.

When it was my turn to be "rescued," a member of the crew was lowered to the area where we were standing.  The team set me up with a helmet and put me in what's called a “screaming suit.”  The unfortunately named apparatus is a harness that wraps around the body and hooks to a single point where the cable is attached.

Once I was hooked up, the hoist started lifting me up to the helicopter.  That's when it gets really fun, because as the victim, you don't get to ride in the helicopter. They make sure you are secure and then you ride outside to the landing zone.

A few short minutes later, we were back on the ground as the helicopter landed, having completed a perfect rescue.

It was a little more intense than I expected it to be, but it was a great first-hand look and what happened when those rescue crews are called into action.