Members from six fire protection districts converged in Washington for a three-day crash course on boat rescue operations.
The firemen from Eureka, Cedar Hill, Saline Valley, Brentwood, Spanish Lake and Riverview fire protection districts trained for 21 skills, including launching and shoring a rescue boat, picking victims up out of the water and performing search patterns, among other skills.
The class, hosted by Trident Rescue, which is based in New Haven, is led by 10 instructors in seven states, including Georgia, Florida and Missouri. According to instructor and founder David Cruz, there’s an average of 100 classes per year with about 20 students in each class.
The class exceeds NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 1006, 1670 and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Boat Operator and Swiftwater/Flood SAR Boat Technician Standards, according to Trident Rescue’s website.
According to Cruz, there are two main boats used in water rescue: a john boat and inflatable boats. The john boats are metal, flat bed boats with more power but less maneuverability and buoyancy compared to the inflatables. Usually john boats are used on rivers and inflatables in swift water and urban areas.
The class occurred in the midst of National Fire Prevention Week. Due to COVID-19, the Washington Volunteer Fire Department did not host any events during the week. However, Deputy Chief Mike Holtmeier said that this year’s theme was cooking safety.
“You can’t walk away while you’re cooking,” Holtmeier said. Adding that he assumed unattended cooking was a leading cause of cooking fires.
Cruz and Trident Rescue will host their next class in Washington the weekend prior to Thanksgiving.