BOISE, Idaho — In an inspiring demonstration of commitment to excellence in emergency response, teams of Simplot employees from Wyoming, California, Utah, and Idaho recently came together for the 11th annual Company Rescue Competition. The event put training into action, with two days of simulated rescue scenarios, safety activities, and friendly competition.
Teams from our Rock Springs, Wyoming; Lathrop, California; Vernal, Utah; Don Plant (Pocatello, Idaho); and Smoky Canyon (Afton, Idaho) locations participated in the competition. There, they showcased their technical, communication and collaboration skills while competing in challenging, technical scenarios.
The event took place at a Boise-area fire training center. This was the first in-person competition since 2020, and there was a feeling of reunion and excitement in the air as competitors returned from their pandemic-related “hiatus.”
On the first day, Company teams competed in various scenarios, including confined space rescue, medical emergencies, a security event, high and low angle rope rescue, and general rope and rescue skills. On day two, the teams participated in a coaching and instruction session with paramedics from the Magic Valley (Idaho) Rope Rescue Team. There was also a “rodeo” event filled with fun and relevant challenges for teams and their respective plant managers.
First time competition attendee, Lathrop Plant Manager Aimee Burger, said the rescue competition was much more realistic than she anticipated. She pointed out that by creating authentic scenarios complete with fake blood and wounds, organizers allowed participants to “Really think through it, trying to create the stress and the real situation instead of just saying well, ‘Let’s go rescue this, let’s try this move, let’s practice these knots.’”
The Company competition helps Simplot’s employee-responders sharpen their skills and tests their knowledge and ability to work as a team. This helps ensure they’re ready when called to an emergency, both on the job and during public emergencies in the communities where they work and live.
Because some of Simplot’s sites are so remote, our teams are often first on the scene before other responders can get there. Smoky Canyon Mine Manager Dan Darlington pointed out, “We don’t call them first responders, but they truly are. They’re the difference between life and death.”
“The Smoky Canyon team has been put to the test,” he continued, highlighting how their skills benefit not only the Company but also the community. “They’ve responded to accidents…they’ve responded to a plane crash. I mean, some major stuff.”
“There’s no situation that these rescue teams can face that they’re not able to deal with in a very efficient and professional manner. These Rescue Teams make all the difference when we need them most,” Darlington added.
Rock Springs was the ultimate first-place finisher in the Rescue Competition, and they were thrilled with their accomplishment, which they had been working for years to achieve.
The Maverick team came in second. This unique group comprised folks from different plants who don’t normally work together.
Previous winner Don Plant came in a close third; there was a narrow overall point separation between all teams.
Individuals invest a lot in developing the important skills necessary to be on a rescue team. It’s not easy and it’s not free in terms of time commitment. These Simplot employees take on this important role in addition to their normal job duties, and each individual shows great dedication in volunteering their time to train, learn and save lives.
Simplot President and CEO Garrett Lofto summed up the importance of rescue teams and the Rescue Competition well, saying, “The learning is an investment in safety and our people and is incredibly important because it allows our people to respond and reduce the impact of what can be a tragedy.”
“I hope you never have to use this training, but if you do, we know you will be ready because of how seriously you take this.”
The J.R. Simplot Company is a family-owned, privately held global food and agriculture company headquartered in Boise, Idaho. Its integrated portfolio includes food processing and food brands, phosphate mining, fertilizer manufacturing, farming, ranching and cattle production, and other enterprises related to agriculture. Simplot has major operations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, and China, with products and services available to customers worldwide. For more information, visit www.simplot.com.