Blue Mountain Rappellers

Blue Mountain Rappellers

 

 

Our Base

Our Mission

The Crew

Rappelling

Training

Fitness

Recruitment

Contacts

 

 

 

Our Base

The Blue Mountain Rappel Base is one of six Rappel programs in the Pacific Northwest Region. Located in La Grande, we enjoy all the benefits of a small-town base in beautiful Northeast Oregon.  We are a Type-1 Crew that staffs a Regional Initial Attack Helicopter. 


Our Mission

Frazier Rappel Ship PhotoOur mission is to provide a highly trained and qualified aerial delivered firefighting force. We will be motivated, safe and professional in all functions of our job. We will take pride in the growth and development of our employees and the services we provide. Through our dedication to moral integrity, work ethic, training, mentorship and leadership, we will stand together as a High Performance Team now and in the years to come.


The Crew

Blue Mountain Rappel Crew - 2013Our crew consists of :

  - One GS-9 Base Manager
  - Two GS-8 Assistant Managers
  - Two GS-7 Lead Crewmembers
  - Two GS-5 Senior Rappellers
  - Ten Seasonal Rappellers

We usually try to pick up 1-2 detailers each season.

 
Rappelling

Frazier Rappellers PhotoRappelling is a fast and effective way to get Initial Attack firefighters into remote areas. Once dispatched, we fly to the location of a wildland fire with a load of Rappellers on board. At the scene of the fire it is determined whether there is a place to land nearby or if the fire will need to be rappelled. Once the decision to rappel is made, the spotter and pilot set up the hover over the intended spot and the rappellers slide down the ropes with the help of the Sky Genie (descent device). On the ground we fight fire like any other initial attack firefighter, building hand line, cutting saw lines and felling trees. Most often the fires are small lightning ignited fires taking 2-4 firefighters 1-3 days to put out. The crews are prepared to stay out for multiple nights, carrying food, water and shelter for an initial 36 hours. Once the fire is put out, the firefighters pack up their gear and hike out. The hike is typically out of a wilderness or roadless area and is often over rough terrain, averaging 2-5 miles to the nearest pick-up road. The firefighter’s pack is a bulky 80-110 pounds of rappel gear (rope, harness & flight helmet), initial attack gear (tools, chainsaw & line pack) as well as food, water and overnight gear. Due to the standardized training that all Region 6 Rappellers go through, we have the ability to send boosters to any base in the Region on short notice. A booster is a fully qualified Rappeller from another base that is temporarily transferred to a different base or incident to increase the host crew’s size and capability.

 
Training

Frazier Training Program Photos

 

Our seasonal employees typically start in early May. Upon arrival we begin the 3-4 week pre-season Rookie Training process consisting of extensive, hands on, fire and aviation training. Pre-season training consists of the S-271 Helicopter Crewmember course, chainsaw certification, radio use and programming, map and compass proficiency, as well as survival techniques and real world scenario exercises.

Throughout these training days firefighters will be participating in a rigorous physical fitness program twice daily. The final portion of Rookie Training consists of the 5-7 day Rookie Rappel Academy in Salmon, Idaho where trainees receive standardized training that will allow them to rappel at any base in the Region. A sharp mind and physically fit individual is a must. Upon completion of the Academy, rappellers are ready to start the season and are immediately available for dispatch.

Each spring the returning crewmembers have opportunities to participate in individual operations training such as S & I-100 and 200 level courses that meet the needs of their personal career development. Additionally we try and get our returnees through some of the Leadership Development courses that are now available. Throughout the season we are very pro-active in filling training assignments to employees with open Task Books.


Fitness

Frazier Rappel FitnessPhysical fitness is an incredibly important part of a Firefighter’s job. We require that all employees meet rigorous levels of physical fitness. We test our firefighters the first day of employment.

Employees are expected to meet and exceed the following physical fitness standards:

  • 1.5 mile run in 11:00 minutes or less
  • 25 push-ups in 1 minute
  • 7 full extension pull-ups
  • 45 sit-ups
  • 85 lbs. pack test over 2 miles in 60 minutes (flat ground)
  • 110 lbs. pack test over typical ground
  • Agency 45 lbs. Work Capacity Test.

Please bare in mind that these are minimums and are typically exceeded. We maintain our physical fitness throughout the season by providing time for workouts when we are not on fires. It is absolutely critical to arrive in good physical condition and maintain a workout regime during the off-season.

 

Recruitment

Rappel Academy PhotoOn average, we hire an average of three new employees each season. We look for people who have at least two years experience in firefighting. Individuals that can live and work well with a diverse group of people under stressful and physically demanding situations are a must. We are always looking for people that have skills such as EMT, chainsaw experience, and IC5.

We start our selection process in January and like to have our hiring done by mid-February. Vacancy information will be available online at www.usajobs.gov. We'll post more information on the hiring process as it's developed.

Positions on the crew are quite competitive. Filling out a high quality, thorough, and timely application is critical. Recommendations from previous employers are very important to our selection process. We highly encourage potential applicants to make personal contact with us. Doing so puts a face with your name and makes our decision process easier.

 

Contacts

If you would like more information or have any questions please contact our Leadership:

Operations Base:  541-975-5440





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