Orange County

Tree Trimmer Gets Trapped 40 Feet in the Air in Palm Tree

A team of rescuers from the Orange County Fire Authority's Technical Rescue Team saved a tree trimmer who was trapped in a palm tree.

OC Fire Authority

An elite team of rescuers in Orange County put their skills to work when a tree trimmer got trapped in a palm tree.

A tree trimmer in Santa Ana was trapped 40-feet in the air when the Orange County Fire Authority's Technical Rescue Team saved them.

"They have special shoes with spikes in them and harnesses where they can basically shimmy themselves up the tree," said Fire Captain Sean Doran.

The man was fatigued and unable to get down on his own.

"He was in a compromised position for a very long time, that position was life threatening," said Chris Johns who is the fire captain of the OCFA Technical Rescue Team.

When aerial and ground ladders couldn't reach the man the Orange County Fire Authority's Technical Rescue Team went into action.

They shot a pilot line over the palm tree to create a rope system and acted quickly getting creative.

"We can't sit around and draw it on paper and talk about it," Johns said.

The end result successfully rescuing the man in under 30 minutes.

The team had just finished training at Doheney State Beach a day after the rescue in Santa Ana.

"Everyday presents itself for a very unique challenge its common for them to be out here training in advance yesterday the order just got reversed," Doran said.

Rescuing people from palm trees is more common than you would think. In just the past 6 months OCFA has made several such rescues.

"It's not uncommon to see when people try this on their own, homeowners lets say and get stuck in a precarious situation," Doran said.

The four technical rescue teams in Orange County train about once a month. They are always adding new things to their toolbox so when the time comes, they're ready for anything.

"To see it going very smoothly its very rewarding," Johns said.

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