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Calgary fire crews use specialized equipment to make ravine rescue

Calgary fire crews had to break out a couple of pieces of specialized equipment to transport a woman who fell down an embankment to hospital.

At around 2:15 p.m. on Friday, the Calgary Fire Department was dispatched to a call in McKenzie Lake for a “significant fall” down an embankment.

A woman in her 40s slipped on some ice while walking her dog, lost her balance and tumbled down a steep hill, landing near the golf course in an area that was difficult to access.

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The CFD technical rescue team used a Mule II litter wheel to rappel down to the patient and transport her out of the ravine. Known as ‘the big wheel’ by fire crews, the Mule II litter wheel has a large, pneumatic tire at the centre of a platform that a stretcher can be attached to.

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The low-slope rescue required specialized training and equipment, and the conditions presented their own challenges.

“Definitely the ice and the conditions. The hills, the mud, everything (was) extremely muddy, icy and slippery. So precautions need to be taken,” district chief Loren Knodl said.

The woman was transported by a CFD field response paramedic by Gator utility terrain vehicle to a waiting EMS paramedic crew, who took her to hospital. CFD said she was conscious and alert when being handed over to AHS EMS.

Knodl urged caution for anyone taking advantage of the warm temperatures to take a walk.

“Please be careful of the situation that’s around — it’s extremely icy and muddy — especially when you’re walking next to a ridge.”

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