Ropes rescue launches camp

By Kelly Ducote, The Observer June 18, 2014 11:25 am

Under the guidance of paramedic Chancey Ferguson, Jennifer McDougal, left, of Pendleton and Aubrey DeLaRosa of Creswell learn the technique of rope rescuing as they raise ‘victim’, Jaine Homan, from a ravine to safety on Fox Hill Monday. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)
Under the guidance of paramedic Chancey Ferguson, Jennifer McDougal, left, of Pendleton and Aubrey DeLaRosa of Creswell learn the technique of rope rescuing as they raise ‘victim’, Jaine Homan, from a ravine to safety on Fox Hill Monday. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

High school students in La Grande for week during health care career exploration camp 

Aubrey DeLaRosa isn’t sure what she wants to do when she grows up.

Maybe a neonatal nurse, maybe a lawyer.

On Monday, though, she was a ropes rescuer. 

The 16-year-old from Creswell joined 30 other high school students from around the state for MedQuest Camp, an annual week-long camp hosted by the Northeast Oregon Health Education Center at Eastern Oregon University.

The camp launched Monday with ropes rescue training.

“It’s really irking. You use a lot of your leg muscles,” said DeLaRosa, who was a rescuer that retrieved the “patient” who had fallen down a hill. “It’s fun, but it’s also hard to trust the ropes.”

Donning hard hats and gloves, the students got firsthand training from the local ropes rescue team. They started the training at the La Grande Rural Fire Department and then ventured up to Mt. Emily.

“Oddly enough, there’s a right way to pull on a rope and there’s a wrong way to pull on a rope,” JB Brock, Union County’s emergency manager, told the students before going out to the mountain. “There’s always two ropes. Two is one, one is none.”

The students were instructed how to tie a reloaded figure eight knot and how to package patients. Up on the mountain, they put their skills to the test in a mock rescue, helping members of the local ropes rescue team set up system to bring the “patient” up a steep incline.

“It’s really fun so far,” said Jennifer McDougall, a 16-year-old from Pendleton. McDougall, like many of the students, is interested in pursuing a career in nursing but wanted to see what other opportunities the medical field offers.

For the full story, see Wednesday's issue of The Observer