May 26, 2010

Tower training class for National Park Service collaborators

By Kevin Schallert, NPS Research Associate

Over two beautiful spring days in sunny San Diego, HPWREN's Jim Hale led a Tower Climbing and Safety Course for the National Park Service's Mediterranean Coast Network. The first day of the training was split between classroom protocol overviews at the San Diego Super Computer Center and the group's initial climbs of 15 feet on the Mount Soledad tower in La Jolla. The second day was entirely on the tower and the curriculum was repelling and rescue drills. Pablo Bryant of SDSU added to Jim's instruction team, allowing for simultaneous on-ground and on-tower coaching. The National Park Service staff surely got quite the thrill suspended 30 feet off the ground preparing for rescue drills.

Jim gives Kevin some last minute high rise pointers before his descent.

Photo: Susan Teel

The training graduated four Park Service Rangers to maintain a growing network of tower mounted environmental monitoring equipment, built in collaboration with HPWREN, that range from wireless networks to fire monitoring cameras. NPS Research Associate Kevin Schallert summed up the mission importance "this training will allow greater flexibility in leveraging human resources to sustain the hardware component of our partnership with HPWREN" and NPS Research Associate Nick deRoulhac added that "Jim's commitment to safety and passion for perfection ensured that this training was comprehensive and stressed established best practices." Other trainees were Network IT Specialist Mike Maki and Firefighter Ryan O'Neill.

Ryan rescues Nick: newly learned techniques in a rescue drill.

Photo: Susan Teel

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