Historic ship provides unique training opportunity for Pasco rescue teams

Pasco County rescue crews got a unique training experience Wednesday aboard the historic American Victory Ship docked in Tampa. 

Pasco County Fire Rescue Special Operations Division bought all three shifts of crews to do some advanced confined-space training 60 feet down in the ship’s hull – training they might not otherwise be able to get at home.

"It’s amazing to me because we’re on part of living history right here, on board the American Victory Ship," offered Carry Epperson with PCFR. "To get to train on their ship that’s been through so much, it’s just amazing."

It’s very critical for Pasco County Fire Rescue be able to have this kind of training because they can encounter some very unique situations. The scenario that the firefighters faced Wednesday aboard the ship was a victim who was overcome by fumes down in the ship’s hull. 

Firefighters were lowered down a 24-inch wide, 60-foot long shaft to reach the victim. 

"The entire scenario was incredibly difficult because the patient himself was over 200 pounds. The crews had to come up with a mechanical advantage system down in the ships hall in the dark, they adapted and made it work," Epperson continued. "After our scenarios are finished, we will critique it, will run it again, and we will eventually be perfect on it."

Today’s scenario was a hugely successful. The firefighters were able to successfully retrieve the patient without incident and it’s a huge confidence booster for the team so that way when they have a real scenario in the future, they will be able to confidently do the rescue.