HAWL hosts another round of water training

Published 3:09 pm Friday, October 30, 2009

HAWL hosts another round of water training

By Jeremy Pittari/Item Staff Writer

Hide-A-Way Lake hosted another round of water-based emergency response training to prepare responders to handle water emergencies.

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Pearl River County Emergency Management Director Danny Manley said about 24 emergency responders from all over the state of Mississippi attended the three-day training. Trainers from Special Rescue International provided the instruction. Those trainers come from all over the country.

Trainees came from north Mississippi down to Pascagoula, and included two fire fighters with the Picayune Fire Department, Ricky Saul and Rod Storrs.

Manley said the training is designed to take the skills each person currently uses in their day-to-day emergency response jobs and build on them with water rescue skills. This training will enable all who complete it to be part of the state wide emergency response task force.

“If there was a situation where a bunch of homes flooded, we can work to get everybody out,” Manley said.

Completion of this training will enable the emergency responders to move up to the next level of training, swift water. Manley said he expects to hold a swift-water training course, possibly on the Pearl River, in the next few months.

Both Saul and Storrs said this is the first water training they have undergone, but other firefighters at the department already have been trained. Storrs said he is prepared to take further training that is offered to him.

“I don’t care if it’s broom sweeping school, I’m going to it.” Storrs said. “I’ll learn something that will help me or somebody (else).”

Part of the training they participated in involved swimming from shore about 250 yards away in teams. The object was to keep everyone together and ensure no one was left behind. Saul said one of his team mates did not have swim flippers so he had to work a little harder to help out his team mate.

Focus of the training seeks to raise each responder’s awareness during emergency situations as well as dto teach them about the operations of water rescue. The training covered all aspects of water rescue, including ice, surf, swift water and diving, said Special Rescue trainer Dave Matics.

Use of equipment, such as ropes and pulleys, that will make performing a rescue easier also was part of the training. Matics said the training will teach the responders how to use those tools effectively to pull a victim from a water hazard without causing strain on the rescuer’s body. Positioning the victim in a safe position during the rescue to avoid further harm also was covered in the training.

“Basically how to do that and get everybody home safe,” Matics said.