Power Plant Stages Emergency Rescue Drill

By Julie Tam
|  Sunday, May 8, 2011  |  Updated 11:25 PM CDT
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The energy company Luminant put Dallas firefighters to the test.

Julie Tam

The energy company Luminant put Dallas firefighters to the test.

Dallas firefighters simulated a daring rescue from high up on a power plant building Sunday.

For the first time, the energy company Luminant put rescuers through a dangerous scenario to make sure they're prepared for the worst.

More than two dozen firefighters and paramedics were called out to Sunnyvale to respond to a mock emergency at the Lake Hubbard Power Plant.

"The simulation is that there's an employee who was working inside our plant. He has fallen several feet and has a head injury," said Ashley Barrie, Luminant spokesperson and NBCDFW sports anchor/reporter Matt Barrie's wife. "We want to do everything that we can to prepare for that worst-case scenario that we hope we obviously never have to deal with."

Rescue workers unloaded their equipment and strapped themselves into harnesses. The Urban Search and Rescue team scaled the outdoor stairs to get to the injured worker, who was stuck about 100 feet off the ground in a small space in the plant that was difficult to reach.

"There is that hazard that they could fall if they didn't take those precautions," said Stuart Grant, a Dallas Fire & Rescue battalion chief. "Real-time rescue would be a lot faster paced than this because the patient is our concern. This gives us the added advantage of coming to a real-world location where we've actually had to deal with the obstacles that a real-world location would throw at us."

It's a scenario the power plant has not been faced with, but it's a very real possibility. In Sunday's drill, the rescue workers successfully lowered the stretcher to the ground, and the employee - a mannequin - was safely rescued.

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