Austin Firefighters use empty carnival to practice rescues

Carnivals are meant to be fun and exciting, but sometimes accidents happen. People can get hurt or stuck on rides and, when that happens it’s firefighters to the rescue. Tyson Poindexter is a Fire Specialist for the Austin Fire Department “We probably won't get a rescue in one of these kinds of places, but we want to be ready if it happened,” he said. He along with other Austin Firefighters took advantage of an empty carnival, not to ride the rides, but to learn about the rides and rescuing. “We didn't know how these things worked. We got to see all the emergency stops and brakes, how we can climb in there, what we can tie our ropes to, how we can work around their safety equipment to get a patient out safely,” Poindexter said.

Normally, if it was urgent and they had good access they would've used the latter to get to the person quicker, but they were practicing worst-case scenarios. “If something happens here, we definitely want to have the advantage of knowing everything about this place before it does,” Poindexter said.

Poindexter is part of a group that made up of 135 specialized firefighters that respond to incidents such as swift water rescues, construction sites, hazmat, trenches, and caves, anything that could be high or low. Poindexter said for some it can be scary at first. “You kind of get used to it after a while, the more you train on it, the more comfortable you get with your equipment, and just the better you are and the less nervous you get,” he said.

David Bertozzi is the manager of the Crabtree Amusements Carnival he said having a relationship with local firefighters is vital. “Some situations we need each other, we need to explain to them what's going to keep them safe because we understand the rides, and they need to tell us how they are going to evacuate the people,” he said.

While AFD said they haven’t responded to an incident at the carnival, they want to be ready. “We'll be the first ones they call, we'll be the first ones here, and we'll have to figure it out,” Poindexter said.