Rappellers to begin training May 3rd at John Day Airbase

JOHN DAY – (Release from the Malheur National Forest)

The National Rappel Certification Training will be held in John Day the week of May 3 through May 8 and the week of May 24th through May 28th. The plans for this nationally recognized, emergency response and preparedness training have changed to reduce the impact on the local community.

The John Day Airbase will host a (1) weeklong annual certification session, beginning May 3, for returning rappellers. Additional refresher sessions will be occurring in both Salmon, Idaho and Missoula, Montana, which allows for smaller gatherings at the individual training sites.

For the May 5th session, approximately 50 rappellers and training cadre will utilize the 50-foot high rappel tower, two rappel simulators, and helicopters to accomplish their required annual certification. The training sessions are also refreshers for helicopter rappel spotters and pilots. Classes will be training in small groups to assist in maintaining social and physical distancing. Returning rappellers sessions are held for recertification purposes; the sessions involve safety review, tower training, helicopter mockups and live rappels.

The May 24th session is an initial certification event to train approximately 35 new rookie rappellers. Each new rappeller must complete equipment review, ground and tower training, and finish with 8 error-free live rappels to be certified as a helicopter rappeller with the U.S. Forest Service. Live rappels are conducted at heights up to 300 feet above the ground.

The National Rappel Certification Training is a performance-based training setting, which requires all rappellers to demonstrate full proficiency at each stage of the training. The objective is to ensure that all rappellers, rappel spotters, and rappel pilots receive the highest quality training experience possible.

Rappelling provides for rapid deployment of personnel nationwide in locations with limited landing areas. U.S. Forest Service Rappellers may respond to wildland fire, medical or all-risk incidents.

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