ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The Orlando Eye doesn’t open until next month, but Wednesday Orange County firefighters spent the day doing special rescue training.
Firefighters want to be prepared in case anyone needs to be rescued from the 400-foot atructure on International Drive.
A group of about 50 firefighters will climb the ladder over the next three days. They’re part of an elite team that would handle a rescue if anything went wrong on the new attraction.
During the training session, firefighters were in harnesses, and they hooked ropes to every couple of rungs of the ladder to catch them if they fall.
Photos: Orlando Eye emergency training
Should someone have to be rescued, it may take crews a very long time.
"Were training these members specifically to this structure, but the skills relate across the board," said Fire Chief David Hollenbach. “This structure is like any other in central Florida.”
The ladder firefighters have to climb surrounds the attraction and was designed so emergency crews could reach people inside each capsule.
Firefighter Eric Siena said he would be up to the challenge, if need be.
“Once I got to the top, I was refreshed. I didn’t feel overly exerted or anything. I could still do work,” Siena said. “It was beautiful at the top. You can see Disney and downtown Orlando.”
The general manager of the Orlando Eye, Robin Goodchild, said several safety features are in place to make sure nothing goes wrong.
“We do need to have an evacuation and emergency response in place. We used an evacuation team in London to reach out to the fire department on our behalf,” Goodchild said.
But if an emergency happened, the staff members' priority would be to get first responders to the people in the capsules, and they would only take people off of the wheel if all other options were exhausted