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Capt. Mark Cumashot refreshes tying knots with Marines and sailors with Technical Rescue Platoon, Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, Feb. 3, at Henrico Fire Drill Facility in Glen Allen, Virginia. Cumashot is the team leader of the Technical Rescue Team, Henrico County Division of Fire.

Photo by Sgt. Terry Brady

CBIRF tightens rope at Henrico

6 Feb 2015 | Sgt. Terry Brady Defense Media Activity

Marines and sailors with Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Technical Rescue Platoon participated in rope and rappel training Feb. 3-5, at Henrico Fire Drill Facility in Glen Allen, Virginia.

The four-day training exercise tested the Marines and sailors on their tactical skills during incident response scenarios. The response force is responsible for countering the effects of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive emergencies.

“Our goal is to provide instruction from the fire service side to the Marines, and it also give our folks an opportunity to develop ourselves professionally,” said Capt. Mark Cumashot, the team leader of the Technical Rescue Team, Henrico County Division of Fire. “[We’re putting them] into an unfamiliar audience and environment.”

The first day of training focused on refining skills with rappelling. The training included: knot variants, dynamic and static anchor systems, in which they were expected to be able to perform the various ways to hoist a victim with their harness, and rappelling off a building.

“The main focus for this four-day training is covering rope-based skills,” Cumashot said. “Rope skills are the foundation of everything within the arena of technical rescue, whether it’s confined space, vehicle extrication or a trench. Every skill has a component of rope built into it. “

The training started off  with a refresher on tying knots with ropes and chords, such as the figure-eight knot, and attaching them to vehicles to test their durability.

“Rope is the most important discipline we use,” said Gunnery Sgt. Orlando Cruz, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the technical rescue platoon. “Rope is used in everything we do in technical rescue. We decided to come down here for rope and confined space training to learn different techniques and ways to do things.”

The fire department staff continued the training and taught different methods to tie knots that would be more effective during rope rescue.

“We’re taught to a basic level for technical rescue,” said Cruz. “We try to stick with the basics and become accomplished at it.

“By coming to Henrico County and working with the [fire fighters] that have been doing this for 10 to 20 years brings something new to the table, whether its skill level, equipment or techniques.”

After the Marines conducted a skill refresher, they moved on to scenario-based training. The Marines used the knots they trained with to rappel down a tower and assist other Marines in a scenario where their gear malfunctioned, suspending them in midair.

“This is one of the better trainings we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Lance Cpl. Joel Moeller, a rescue man with the platoon. “We are learning more of the technical skills to better ourselves at the job.”

The staff with the fire department gave as much information and valuable training as possible while learning more about themselves and how CBIRF works during rescue scenarios, according to Cumashot.

“I see this training as both a peer and a mentor,” said Cumashot. “I hope to learn something from the way the Marines conduct operations, the challenges they have faced, but also teach some of the things I have been blessed to be exposed to in my 20 years.

“One thing we do in the fire service is we only look into ourselves. We never look outside. The opportunity to work with a federal asset that comes from a different state and has had worldwide exposure really opens up our own eyes, so we learn something from CBIRF, and hopefully they learn something from us.”

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