KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Rural Metro Fire – Knox County is implementing new equipment that will be used to rescue injured hikers who may be stuck on a trail.

Park rangers from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park taught firefighters how to use a wheeled litter system Monday morning. The training took place on a trail on House Mountain, which has the highest elevation in Knox County.

Robby Nix, Captain of EMS Operations for Rural Metro Fire, says the mountain gains more than 1000 feet of elevation in less than a mile.

  • mountain rescue equipment 2
  • mountain rescue equipment 3
  • mountain rescue equipment

“We do an average of about six rescues off of House Mountain a year, so, in conjunction with Great Smoky Mountains National Park and their Smoky Mountain Technical Rescue Team, we modeled our equipment after the same equipment that they use in the park,” Nix said.

The park rangers ran through a practice rescue with the firefighters to teach them how the system works.

“It allows us to put the weight of the patient on the wheel and not us carrying it with a bunch of people just around it. The wheel is a nice, tall, fat mountain bike type wheel and it allows it to go over obstacles, down trees, rocks, those types things,” Nix said.

Around 30 firefighters from four different Rural Metro Fire stations attended the training, and they will hold three more training sessions at the end of the month.

“It will save us a considerable amount of time on those rescues when we’re doing it, and make it safer for the crew and safer for the patients,” Nix said.