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Specialty emergency response training took place in Hastings last week

Ardent Mills in Hastings provided one of the structures used for rescue training last week. (Submitted photo)

Last week, residents of Hastings may have noticed some unfamiliar public safety vehicles in and around Hastings. Last week on Wednesday evening, the Dakota County Special Operations Team was in town training in the 1600 block of Ashland Street. The area of focus was confined space training and they simulated a situation involving two individuals who needed rescue out of the storm water sewer system. While using ropes, hard line communications and fresh breathing air, rescuers went into the sewer a couple hundred feet and performed two rescues.

Also last week, the Minnesota Task Force 1 hosted a class and Craig Latch of Hastings participated in a seven-day advanced ropes rescue class June 12-18. That class had four members from each participating agency and was a “train the trainer” class taught by Ropes That Rescue out of Sedona, Arizona.

The first several days of this class were done at the St. Paul Fire Training grounds and the last few days were off site at different locations. On Thursday, responders trained on the bluffs of the Mississippi River in St. Paul, which has similar terrain as the Vermillion Falls Park area in Hastings. Friday was spent at Ardent Mills in Hastings and on Saturday teams finished up in Edina on a tower crane.

The Dakota County Special Operations Team is a 36-member county team that responds to hazard material incidents, rope rescues, trench rescues, confined space rescues, structural collapses incidents, wide area searches and weapons of mass destruction events. This team is made up of police and firefighters from Dakota County; Chris Paulson, Craig Latch, Josh Johnson and Cory Huberty of the Hastings Fire Department participate on the team.

Minnesota Task Force 1 is a state team of 240 members that focuses on structural collapse and is made by Dakota County Special Operation Team, St. Paul Fire, Edina Fire, Rochester Fire, and Minneapolis Fire.