October 16th, 2018

First responders take to the water for rescue training

By Lethbridge Herald on June 12, 2018.

Lethbridge Fire & Emergency Services boat is on the choppy waters of Stafford Lake Tuesday morning for training exercises in boat manoeuvring for water rescue before more people take to the waters this summer. Herald photo by Greg Bobinec

J.W. Schnarr
Lethbridge Herald
Practice makes perfect.
Twenty members of Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services water rescue team took part in rescue training at Stafford Lake on Tuesday.
The team is made up of volunteers within Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services, and is part of the mutual aid agreements between Lethbridge and other communities in the area.
“If their department needs us, we’ll come and help them search, or do whatever they need us for,” said Brendon Pyne, water rescue team leader.
He said the training is important because it allows responders to get much-needed practice as well as become familiar with equipment, including how the boats handle during emergencies.
Crews receive training on three types of boats used by the fire department: a deck boat, a Zodiac and a jet boat.
“Our guys are taking the boats out, and there’s a course that helps them get to know the design capabilities of those boats at their peak speeds, and how they handle cornering just in case they need to be in that situation,” Pyne said.
He added it is impossible to predict how often these types of water rescues may be required in any given year. He noted the windy weather makes for better training conditions as the environment becomes more unpredictable.
Senior firefighter Warren Molnar, a former competitive swimmer, said he joined the team because he enjoys being part of work involving aquatic environments. He also has an interest in all the additional training available through the team.
“We’re alway learning new things, and it’s a good team to be on because we practise quite regularly,” he said.
That practice has helped Molnar in a number of operations.
“If we could practise more, we would,” he said. “It is beneficial. For water rescue, you have to be in the water. You have to do your rescues and practise all these skills.”
Paramedic firefighter Craig Dillman has been a member of the team for three years but was taking part in his first boat course on Tuesday.
“I like it because it’s an extra level to our jobs,” he said. “We do have lots of water, and I like the rescue side of it, too. It’s nice to get out and use the boats and the different stuff we have to rescue people on the water.”
“These kinds of courses are good for putting us in lots of different situations we wouldn’t really think about,” he said. “That’s really good.”
With files from Greg Bobinec
Follow @JWSchnarrHerald on Twitter

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