Firefighting, Technical Rescue

Palm Tree Rescues: Hazards for Victims and Responders

Issue 5 and Volume 163.

BY LARRY COLLINS Who knew when we first came on the job as firefighters that some of us might someday find ourselves trying to rescue a tree trimmer trapped beneath hundreds of pounds of dead fronds interlocked in a sort of “ring of death” dozens of feet off the ground or that rescues from palm trees could include lethal hazards that would challenge even the most experienced rescuers? After responding to multiple tree-trimmer rescues, some fire departments are being compelled to develop formal procedures to handle these life-threatening situations. Rescuing a palm tree trimmer may be the last thing on your mind when you show up to start your shift at the fire station, but in some regions where palm trees are ubiquitous, the report of a tree trimmer trapped beneath a “frond ring” in a palm tree is one of those situations where first-arriving firefighters can make a life-saving…

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