Team Rescue Methods, a group of firefighters primarily from the Washington Township Fire Department, recently placed fourth out of 10 teams competing in an international rope rescue competition.
The team members were satisfied with how they performed, said Dalan Zartman, a Galena resident who has served as a Washington Township firefighter for 18 years.
"We are really, really pleased with fourth," Zartman said.
The team -- a seven-member unit comprising five members from the Washington Township Fire Department, one member from the Barberton Fire Department and one member from Jackson Township Fire Department -- competed March 28-30 in GRIMP North America, an international rescue skills challenge hosted by CMC, which manufactures and distributes life-safety equipment and education.
The competition was held on the decommissioned battleship, USS Iowa, in Los Angeles.
It was the first time the competition was held in the U.S. Teams that placed ahead of Rescue Methods were H-elevated, Elevated Safety/Harken Industrial from Pewaukee, Wisconsin, in the first place; Special Rescue Association from Germany, in second place; and Namur Fire Department, from Pompiers Namur, Belgium, in third place.
Harken Industrial is a manufacturer and distributor of all types of ropes and rigging equipment used in rope rescue, industry, theaters, arenas and maritime and nautical applications.
The top four teams were the only teams that finished any competition rounds within the time limit without any major safety violations, Zartman said.
Teams also would be stopped from competing if it was evident that they couldn't complete the tasks within the time allotted.
The teams had to complete five rescue scenarios in which an injured or incapacitated rescuer or victim needs to be retrieved. Each scenario had to be completed in 90 minutes.
Zartman said the competition presented real-world rescue scenarios that were mentally and physically exhausting. His team, he said, successfully rescued the "victim" in all five competition scenarios.
Rescue Methods was also the oldest team, Zartman said. While other competitors were in their mid 20s and 30s, Rescue Methods' members were, on average, in their 40s. He said he felt good being able to hold his own with younger men.
Rescue Method's only female competitor, Sarah Batchelder Hostetler, ended up being the only female rescue competitor in the entire competition, Zartman said.
"She was an absolute rock star," he said.
Hostetler, who serves as a firefighter-paramedic-rescue tech at Washington Fire Department, said she's used to being the "only girl."
"I grew up with five brothers, so it's not a new concept for me," she said.
During the competition, she wondered if any other women were competing, but she didn't have much time to think about it, she said.
One team did have a female competitor as well, but that woman acted as the victim during scenarios.
"I mostly just focused on our events and what my roles were for each one of those," she said.