MASON CITY, Iowa - With helmets and harnesses, Mason City firefighters looked like they were about to climb Mount Everest. All the safety gear is meant to keep the first responders and their patients safe during a difficult extraction.
While Iowa is not known for having large mountains, this type of training is useful in situations like trench rescues, water towers, tall buildings and lake rescues. Once a year, firefighters take a refresher course on how to use the gear.
After a few hours on the ground tying knots and fastening gear, it was time to put their skills to the test. The instructor had brought a tall climbing tower to the firehouse.
One by one, the firefighters rappelled down the tower, sometimes upside down. Firefighter Kate Sainci says, "It was cold. It was really cold. It's something I've never done before. It was just something different and something we don't get to practice very often and it was really fun."