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Lake Cowichan fire crews get their feet wet

Lake Cowichan Fire/Rescue personnel have been spending a lot of time on the water lately. - Malcolm Chalmers
Lake Cowichan Fire/Rescue personnel have been spending a lot of time on the water lately.
— image credit: Malcolm Chalmers

Lake Cowichan Fire Chief Doug Knott has a rule: “No training, no boat.”

That’s why members have spent so much time learning boat rescue techniques for river and lake rescues since the their new rescue boat and rapid deployment craft arrived last year.

Swift water rescue trainers from Raven Rescue of Smithers B.C. were hired to teach the members water rescue and boat control in flowing rivers. Members have also been taught safe operation of their jet boat on Lake Cowichan.

Craig Gerrard from Raven Rescue, “We are training them in all disciplines of rescue, swift water, technical rope rescue, ice rescue, as well as operating the jet boat safely.”

The morning of Jan. 18 at Little Beach on the Cowichan River was cool but sunny. The firefighters were suited up in their Stanfields and survival suits to act as victims and rescuers as they practiced a multitude of different scenarios.

The VFD’s jet boat and the yellow rapid deployment craft were used to assist swift water rescuers in performing these tasks.

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