Fire department shares advice after rock-climbing incident near Kingston Mills locks

The Kingston Fire and Rescue Technical Rescue Team was deployed near Kingston Mills Locks on Saturday, Apr. 15, 2023, after a rock climber taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather was injured while rock climbing with friends. Photo by Kingstonist.

Editorial note: An earlier version of this article indicated that paramedics and the fire department were called to assist after a man fell while rock climbing and was injured. Kingstonist has since spoken with those on-scene during the incident, who clarified that the injury was not a result of a fall, but rather the reason emergency services were needed.

One man is grateful for the speed anf care of local first responders after an injury rock climbing near Kingston Mills Locks led to a short fall and the need for emergency assistance.

On Saturday, Apr. 15, 2023, at approximately 2:15 p.m., Frontenac Paramedics and Kingston Fire and Rescue received a call reporting that a male rock climbing in the area just off Kingston Mills Road at the Rideau Canal had fallen while rock climbing. Emergency responders were informed that the man was immobile as a result of the accident, and treated the situation as a technical rescue. According to those participating in the rock climbing, the man suffered a torn hamstring while climbing, which led to a short fall of about five feet on a rope (not to the ground), and his inability to walk out of the area.

Arriving at the parking lot at the Kingston Mills Locks National Historic Site, the local fire department’s technical rescue team was deployed to assist paramedics in locating and retrieving the man, as well as loading him into an ambulance, Kingston Fire and Rescue explained in an email to Kingstonist. For their part, Frontenac Paramedics confirmed their attendance, noting that the man was treated on scene and then transported to a Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) site with “minor injuries.”

After the rock climber was located and retrieved by firefighters, he was treated by Frontenac Paramedics, who then transported him to hospital. Photo by Kingstonist.

The man was also lucky to have engaged in a practice Kingston Fire and Rescue highly recommends: he was with a group of friends while rock climbing. Those friends were able to contact emergency services.

“We do not know who owns the property,” Kingston Fire and Rescue (KFR) said of where the man was rock climbing, noting that people often rock climb on Crown lands.

“KFR reminds persons enjoying the outdoors to do so in pairs or groups, and to have the what3words app installed on their phone so we know exactly where to find you during an emergency.”

The what3words app has been highly recommended by local emergency responders, who say installing the app could be a life-saving decision. The app, designed in the UK, has assigned a unique three-word combination to every 3m x 3m square on the planet, which allows emergency responders to narrow in on a person’s location if they have the app installed. The app has been used locally by emergency responders on several occasions, including during the rescue of three hikers in Frontenac Provincial Park in February of this year.

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