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Rural Metro implementing extra training to expand services on House Mountain

Rural Metro said they usually rescue around six people from the mountain every year.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — Rural Metro Fire said it is implementing new tools and staff are undergoing new training so the organization can expand its options when responding to 911 calls on House Mountain. The mountain is about 2,000 feet tall, and its steep elevation can make responding to calls difficult.

The Smoky Mountain Technical Rescue Team went through new training on Wednesday, to help them respond to emergency situations.

"If you're not prepared or in good physical shape, it's an easy way to get hurt," said Captain Robby Nyx who works with the rescue team.

Part of the training on Thursday included using an emergency litter. It's used to quickly secure people and transport them from one location to another, such as to an ambulance or into a helicopter. Often, it's used to help reach people who are stuck in hard-to-reach places.

"It's safer for our patient. It's safer for our crew members," said Nyx. "It's so dependent on where they get injured at the trail, as to how easy or how difficult it is to get someone out."

Rural Metro said they are also working with the Knox County Parks and Recreation Department to keep people from getting easily turned around. They are increasing the number of trail markings on the mountain and increasing the amount of signage, so it's easier for hikers to use the park.

The signs are expected to be in place by March.

"If they go up and use the park and get injured, they will have better resources to take care of them and get them off of the mountain faster," said Nyx.

Rural Metro first responders also said they plan to meet rangers at House Mountain on Monday to run through rescue exercises, preparing more people for emergency situations.

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