First responder talks safety after rescue operation - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

First responder talks safety after rescue operation

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MAKANDA, Ill. -- Southern Illinois has many beautiful state parks to visit, and as temperatures warm up, more people will soon be hitting the trails. However, there are dangers inside these parks if hikers aren't careful. 

On Saturday, a 16-year-old from Wisconsin got stuck in a small cave known as "Fat Man's Squeeze" at Giant City State Park. She was stuck for more than five hours. Rescuers from several nearby agencies responded, using ropes and oil to get her free. 

Captain Jay Crippen from the Carbondale Fire Department was one of many first responders on scene. 

"Those agencies were able to work together, like we trained, where one agency was tasked with patient care, another agency was tasked with setting up a landing zone for the helicopter," said Crippen. 

While it's not a common rescue call, a quick search on YouTube reveals several videos where people are stuck inside "Fat Man's Squeeze". Most are able to free themselves, but sometimes it takes a team with a lot of specialized equipment. 

In hard-to-reach places, like caves, Captain Crippen suggests you don't even attempt to go inside, "It's all fun and games until that one thing you didn't expect to happen, happens." 

He also suggests never getting off the trail, keeping your phone charged, and always letting someone know where you're going and when you'll be back. 

The director of the Union County Ambulance Service says each year around this time they take several calls from Giant City and other state parks. Most calls are related to lost hikers or falls.

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