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Emergency responders train for water rescues

Published: Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 10:50 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Sept. 1, 2014 7:37 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Heidi Litchfield – hlitchfield@shawmedia.com)
Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance Service members took to the Illinois River to train for water rescue as part of their annual training.
Caption
(Heidi Litchfield – hlitchfield@shawmedia.com)
Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance Service members trained on the Illinois River, so they are prepared for water rescues.

MORRIS – Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District has been involved in several water rescue and recoveries this year. Training for those emergencies is what allows them to be able to respond quickly.

“We go out every year to review the different procedures with the two boats we have,” Lt. Dave Wiechen said. “It’s important to remain sharp with these skills year-round.”

The firefighters spent one week in August taking the department’s boats down to the Illinois river where staff could go over the many procedures required when doing water rescues.

“Whether or not you have incidents, the training needs to be done,” Wiechen said. “When you don’t have incidents, I’d say it’s even more important because you haven’t had to do it.”

Each shift sent firefighters down to the water, so they could practice backing up to the boat launch, placing the boat in the water and pulling it back out.

In addition, they reviewed different parts of the boat, nautical terms, colors of buoys, as well as review mile markers.

“It helps me to learn about the river,” firefighter Dave Ritter said. “It allows us to know our area of the river. There is a mile marker system just like on a highway.”

By going out on each shift they were able to practice night launches as well, which Wiechen said is a more difficult time to search the water.

“At night you have to deal with vision, it’s harder,” Wiechen said. “We go out on calls whether it’s night, raining or 20 degrees out. The more they are prepared, the better we can respond.”

The fire department routinely goes through different training’s to keep their skills sharp and to give those with less experience a chance to be hands on.

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