According to a post of the social media from their official account, the Billings Fire Department responded to a call Wednesday night (5/26) just before midnight, regarding two individuals who fell from the Rims. Multiple engines and crews arrived to assist and firefighters were able to extract the people using a steep angle rope system rescue technique.

Rescues on the 300 - 800 foot tall Rimrocks are fairly common. Pat Landry with the Billings Fire Department confirmed there were 7 rescues in 2020 and 11 in 2019. Those high-angle rescues included both animals and people.

Hot Rod Thompson, Townsquare Media Billings
Credit: Townsquare Media Billings

An uptick in calls in 2020 kept the fire department busy.

The Billings Fire Department's 2020 annual report notes a 68% increase in calls in the last decade. In 2020 they responded to 18,284 total calls for service. Those calls included:

  • 8,575 EMS/Rescue
  • 446 fires
  • 9,263 All "other" Service

Staffing was a big issue in 2020, with a shortage of new recruits and a number of retirements leaving the department short. A public safety mill levy passed in 2020 has allocated additional funds for staffing.

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Ongoing training ensures firefighters are equipped for safe rescue efforts.

Collectively, Billings firemen and women received over 25,000 hours of training in 2020, down 10% from 2019, due to COVID-19 restrictions. There are 33 firefighters trained with specialized skills to handle high/low angle, water/ice, confined space and trench rescues.

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