Local Firefighters Return to Republic of Georgia for Specialized Rescue Training


Four members of the Walker County Fire Rescue’s Cave & Cliff Rescue Team are gearing up to make their way back overseas to the Republic of Georgia. Assistant Chief James Yearout shared his enthusiasm, stating, “I guess we did a good enough job last year that they were ok with us coming back and doing some more.”

Yearout, along with Assistant Chief Eric Asburn, Assistant Chief Benny Plott, and Rescue Specialist Robert Anderson, are set to reprise their roles as trainers as they embark on a mission to instruct a nine-day technical rescue course to their Georgian counterparts this summer. This follows the successful delivery of a similar course last year, fostering a strong foundation for this ongoing partnership.

“We do have two of the guys from last year coming over, and they are going to start interning and being instructors along with us, so hopefully in about four years we’ll pass the program on to them to teach their own people,” Yearout elaborated on the long-term vision of knowledge sharing.

The intricacies of technical rescue, involving rope work and patient extrication from challenging rocky terrains, are at the heart of this training initiative. Drawing on the unique topography of Walker County and the expertise of its skilled team, the Georgia Army National Guard handpicked Walker County to join their international training coalition.

Yearout emphasized, “These are firefighters like us, but they have the specialty training in technical rescue. They know the rope work, they’re skilled in swift water rescue, and they’ve mastered all aspects of technical rescue. In fact, they recently put their swift water training to the test during the past month. A significant mudslide demanded their attention, and they tirelessly worked for about a month conducting search and recovery operations.”

With a year’s experience under their belts, the Walker County team is primed for a smoother execution of the program. Familiarity with the operational area and a grasp of how to navigate potential language barriers are poised to enhance the overall experience. Yearout also expressed his excitement that the interpreter from the previous year, who mastered the program, will be making a return appearance.

As the Walker County Fire Rescue’s Cave & Cliff Rescue Team readies itself for another round of impactful training in the Republic of Georgia, the enduring partnership between these dedicated firefighters serves as a beacon of cross-border collaboration and skill exchange.