Island arborists learn safety

Phoenix Welty (far left) rescues Keegan Cookston. Jeff Wakefield with Ascension Group NW instructing (far right) looks on.

Certified arborist Bathan Shaner organized a class in mid-March for his fellow Orcas Island climbers. Led by Ascension Group Northwest from Bellingham, it covered how to rescue an injured climber.

“Tree work is a very dangerous occupation, and I want to do what I can to make it as safe as possible,” Shaner said. “I made the decision to host this event so that I, my employees and other fellow tree workers would have the knowledge if ever needed to rescue an injured climber.”

Employees from Baisch Tree Service, Island Skyline Tree Care, Rainshadow Consulting and Shaner Excavation and Tree Service LLC participated in the day-long class. They practiced two scenarios: a single person rescuing a climber with a variety of different wounds and a climber with two ground men to assist in lowering the injured person.

At the end of the day, class participants completed a hands-on test to demonstrate they were competent in aerial rescue.