TULSA, Oklahoma - Every now and then, the Tulsa Fire Department Heavy Rescue Team has to pull someone out of a bad situation.

And to make sure they’re ready for the real thing, sometimes a little practice is required, according to Captain R.B. Ellis.

"Today we are practicing high lines, horizontal rope rescue systems," he said.
That explains why when we first got to the fire training center, Firefighter Adam Graves was hanging upside down from a rope suspended between two buildings.

Ellis is the Rescue Coordinator. He said most of the time we think of lowering people to the ground or pulling them up, but some situations call for moving someone or something horizontally - like in a water rescue.

For example, earlier this summer a guy got a little too close to the low water dam near 31st and Riverside and had to be rescued.

The rescue team used a system of ropes and pulleys anchored near a tree to allow a yellow raft to get close enough to get the guy to safety. It was one of several rope rescue techniques they use.

"We use high lines, deflected lines, track lines and skate lines. The guy in the kayak was a deflected line rescue," Ellis explained.

The applications are a little different, but the principle is the same. A system of ropes and pulleys allows the team to get the firefighter in the harness where he needs to be to make the rescues.

The team practices eight hours every month on one of the seven different types of rescues they are trained to do.