PATERSON, NJ - The recent reinvestment into Rescue operations, including the purchase of all new rescue rope and hardware, was put to good use early Sunday as members of the Paterson Fire Department saved a man in distress on a rocky island in the base of the Great Falls.
"Our Technical Rescue expertise was on display,” Fire Chief Brian McDermott said in a statement that described the event.
According to reports, Paterson Fire Department Battalion Chief AJ Woods was on scene at Overlook Park (Lower Pavillion) just after 12:30 a.m. when he spotted the patient who appeared “alert and with injury.” The 32-year-old man said he had jumped from the walkway bridge.
Members of Ladder 2 forced entry to the catwalk at the base of the hydroelectric plant and Captain Mike Scherer, Rescue Company 2, donned Swift Water Personal Protection Equipment as others assigned assembled a rescue boat, rope and rigging gear.
While members of Engine 4 set up downstream back-up with inflatable hose at the Alfano Bridge, a roof ladder was quickly rigged to the catwalk to use for accessing the water since there was no access. The boat was lowered into the water via a rope and pulley system where two members of Rescue 2 accessed the rescue boat. Using a pre-rigged safety line on a spool attached to the boat, they navigated the swollen post-rain Great Falls and reached the victim.
The rescuers medically assessed the male victim, placed a life jacket and rope harness on him and brought the victim back to the catwalk where his ascent was controlled by a rope and pulley system.
The victim was further assessed, treated and transported to St. Joseph's Hospital by Paterson Fire Department EMS.