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Vigilant Guard: National Guard members drop to the rescue 
By Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares, Joint Task Force-Centennial Public Affairs 
rappel training 

U.S. Soldiers and Airmen with the Utah National Guard, Search and Extraction teams train on rope rescue evolutions at the West Metro Fire Training Center in Lakewood, Colo., July 24, 2013. This training is a part of the Vigilant Guard exercise being held this week in the Denver Metro and Colorado Springs area. Vigilant Guard is a multi-state exercise focused on interagency coordination to prepare for domestic emergencies and catastrophic events. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares/RELEASED)

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More Vigilant Guard videos, photos and print stories are available on DVIDS and Flickr.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Whether from falling in a hole or under a collapsed structure, victims often need to be lifted to freedom.

In that spirit, Utah National Guard Search and Extraction Team trained on rope rescue and evacuation procedures at the West Metro Fire Training Center July 24 as part of the exercise Vigilant Guard.

Rope evacuations give rescuers a mobile way to get casualties out of any confined space, trench, or partially collapsed building.

This provides teams with a better, more efficient way to get to the injured, said Mike Lewis, a strategic response initiative trainer who works with military and civilian search and rescue teams.

The Utah Soldiers practiced raising, lowering and repelling with the added weight of a victim with simulated injuries.

“This training is extremely valuable, it’s a use or lose skill,” said Utah Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Jon Huff, a medic with the 151st Medical Group search and rescue team. “If you don’t train all the time, you get rusty really quickly, so the more hands on, the better it is and the safer we are.”

Vigilant Guard is a multi-state, multi-agency emergency response exercise aimed at training to prepare for domestic emergencies and catastrophic events through interagency coordination.