New Radar Equipment Brings New Safety Requirements And Training Opportunities

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There’s always an eye towards the sky at the National Weather Service station in Mount Joy, but today meteorologists were joined by firefighters.

They're here to practice the rescuing someone trapped inside the radar dome.

"It's gotta be held up by all that steel you see, so there's obstacles bringing a person down. There's obstacles up inside the dome itself with the radar being up there," says Mike Lemon, an electrical technician with the National Weather Service.

Members of Davenport's high angle technical rescue team say this isn't a new scenario, but every scene brings a new, unique set of challenges.

"Sometimes in confined spaces on of the most difficult things we face is just accessing the patient. There are some tight areas but a lot of characteristics from this event are similar to if you were dealing with a cell tower, a water tower or any elevated height," explains District Fire Chief Mike Carlsten.

The Davenport Fire Department has a training site just a few miles from here, but an invitation to train at the National Weather Service dome was something they simply couldn't pass up.

"The height is nothing new to us. The confined space is nothing new to us. It's just a different facility and now we have a better understanding of how we can set different systems up; and as these evolutions evolve we're going to be able to do them quicker and quicker," says Carlsten.

Rescue crews completed multiple training runs on the radar tower, each time getting a little more familiar and moving just a little faster.

This is the first time the fire department has ever trained with the National Weather Service, but today both groups agreed this won't be the last time.

Engineers with the National Weather Service say this is all safety, protecting those who help protect us.

"The biggest thing is safety for the victim and safety for everyone doing the work," says Lemon.