Patient Care, Trauma

High-Angle Rescue on Top of Feed Mill

Issue 8 and Volume 35.

W hen a 22-year-old man was injured working on top of a feed mill 134 feet above the ground in a rural farming community in Alberta, Canada, Wheatland EMS, the Strathmore Rural Fire Department, Strathmore Town Fire Department (STFD), a high-angle rescue team from a nitrogen fertilizer plant and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police combined resources to coordinate care, packaging and transfer of the patient. A firefighter armed with climbing equipment and BLS gear climbed to the top to initially assess the patient. The patient was conscious with head lacerations and complaining of neck pain. The firefighter maintained manual C-spine control while spinal equipment and a basket stretcher were hoisted up with an EMT-A who assumed patient care. The patient’s head was bandaged, and he was secured to a spine board and packaged in a basket stretcher. The initial rescue transfer involved a vertical lowering to the walkway below and then controlled descent down the STFD 105-foot aerial ladder. He was reassessed by the waiting ALS crew and transported by ground to a rural emergency department with minor injuries. For more on this challenging incident, check out our bonus article at

This article originally appeared in July 2010 JEMS as “Trauma at the top.”