Fire rescue teams trains on world's largest observation wheel

High Roller located on Las Vegas strip

Firefighters train at the Las Vegas High Roller.
Firefighters train at the Las Vegas High Roller.

LAS VEGAS – Orange County Fire Rescue trained its special operations team in Las Vegas on the High Roller, the largest observation wheel in the world. 

Orange County Fire Rescue kicked off its partnership with the Orlando Eye by sending 40 high-angle rescue climbers to train on the 400-foot observation wheel. Team leaders honed their skills for the last few days on the 550-foot Las Vegas High Roller, the tallest observation wheel in the world.

"This is a great opportunity to train in partnership with some of the country's best firefighters," Orange County Fire Chief Otto Drozd III said.

The special operations team from the Orange County Rescue Department specializes in disciplines such as hazardous material, rope rescue, confined space rescue, vehicle extrication and other high-risk conditions. Orange County Fire Rescue maintains rescue climbers on each of its three shifts.

"We've hosted several departments here in Orange County who were interested in the training we conducted at the Orlando Eye," Drozd said. "We've shared our best practices and lessons learned with them, and now we're applying that knowledge in a new heavy rescue scenario. It benefits all of us as we serve our respective communities."

The Las Vegas High Roller, like the Orlando Eye, incorporates training with a simulated rescue of patients from the structure.

Orange County Fire Rescue has relationships with Orlando area attractions that allow its special operations team to train on their facilities. With the continued growth of the I-Drive corridor and the expansion of attractions across the country, the new training comes at an opportune time.

"Our rescue training helps us become familiar with the operations of local attractions and businesses, and they become familiar with us. It puts our firefighters in the ideal position to know that, if needed, we are prepared to respond quickly and effectively in an emergency," Drozd said.