Little River is “very unforgiving” — that’s what Little River Canyon National Preserve Superintendent Steve Black told the Times-Journal just a few weeks ago.
His comments came following two accidents in under a week, both of which turned out to be fatal.
According to State Park Ranger Larry Beane, that’s already in keeping with the average per year at Little River Falls. That’s a scary fact.
Beane also said there were 20-plus accidents each year that required a rescue operation from Fort Payne Fire Department or Fischer Rescue Squad.
On Thursday, the two squads were out performing a routine Rope 1 training exercise to prepare firefighters at the department and rescue squad members in case of any accident that may occur and require their assistance.
It’s almost fun watching these teams work on developing these skills. It’s really a sight to see from a spectator’s point of view.
They’ll take a dummy and toss it over into the falls, and then rappel down through a gated opening built specifically for a rescue operation.
However, it’s important to realize what that dummy represents. It’s potentially a friend, a family member or a coworker, and the squad’s success in performing this mission will be the difference between life or death.
With the Fourth of July holiday coming up, we know so many of you will be out looking to enjoy the time off and beat the heat — many may even load up your family and go over to the canyon — but we can’t stress enough the importance of being cautious while at Little River or Martha’s Falls.
Fischer Rescue Squad and the fire department perform a vital service in this community.
We hope that we never have to call them, but should the time arise, they’ll be on the scene at a moment’s notice — that training and response time is why that average fatality number isn’t much higher.
We’re thankful that we have several highly trained teams in our area that are equipped to handle any situation that may occur.
Let’s hope it never does. Do your part to make sure it doesn’t.
Our View is the opinion of the Times-Journal’s editorial board, which includes Publisher Tricia Clinton-Dunne and Managing Editor Bradley Roberts.