An inverted descent: Watch as a team tasked with responding to catastrophes trains at BC Place
VANCOUVER -- A different kind of athletic endeavour is taking place at BC Place.
First responders from around the region, as well as members of Canada's Armed Forces, are taking part in a heavy urban rescue training exercises.
Mainly comprised of members of Vancouver Fire Rescue Services and Vancouver police officers, the team predominately operates in the Lower Mainland and elsewhere in British Columbia, but they are internationally deployable.
In the past they've assisted in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Calgary flooding that happened in 2013.
"If we're there it's because somebody needs to be accessed and retrieved from whatever predicament they're in," says Lt. Eric Grootendorst of Canada Task Force 1. "It could be inside a building collapse, it could be inside a trench, it could be a swift water rescue scenario."
Two hundred feet (61 metres) above the field, members of the Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team perch themselves on the edge of a steel girder and rappel to the stadium below, an exercise meant to maintain their skills in rope rescues.
Vancouver Fire Rescue training officer Clint Clarke says BC Place provides a safe space to train for manoeuvres such as an inverted descent, where a team member rappels down to an area while upside down.
"Part of our core skill set as members of the HUSAR team is rope rescue work, working from height, so this venue offers us the ability to do that."
The training will continue this week, and, if the weather holds, members of the team might be seen repelling down the outside of BC Place.