Ready for water rescue


Lockhart firefighters complete training course

By Charles Warner - cwarner@civitasmedia.com



Courtesy photo Firefighters from six different departments including the Lockhart Fire Department took part in a special Water Rescue Ops Course taught in Lockhart in late July. The training was requested by Lockhart Fire Chief Lee Brannon who took the course along with four other members of his department. The course, which was provided through the South Carolina Fire Academy, was taught in part at the Lockhart Fire Department and in part at the swimming pool owned by Jeff Bailey. By successfully completing the course, the firefighters are now able take part in water rescues.


Courtesy photo Five members of the Lockhart Fire Department were among the firefighters from six departments who took part in a special Water Rescue Ops Course taught in Lockhart in late July. The course was requested by Lockhart Fire Chief Lee Brannon requested the course so that his department would have a team of firefighters trained in water rescue and able to effectively respond to an emergency involving a large body of water such as a river or lake or flood. The course was taught in Lockhart in late July and all five Lockhart firefighters including Brannon passed.


By Charles Warner

cwarner@civitasmedia.com

LOCKHART — A firefighter who goes into a burning building has a good change of getting killed, but he has an even greater chance of being killed if he goes into a river or lake to try to save someone from drowning.

That’s one of the lessons Lockhart Fire Chief Lee Brannon said that he and four other firefighters from the Lockhart Fire Department learned while taking a special water rescue class.

“The chance of dying in a water rescue is four times greater than in a working fire,” Brannon said Monday. “I never would have thought that.”

The eastern boundary of the Lockhart Fire District is the Broad River and that was major factor in the decision by Brannon and four other Lockart firefighters — Channon West, Joe Rumfeld, Scott Milton and David Campbell — to take a special water rescue training course.

“I’ve been studying about it, seeing flooding on television and we realized we have a river next to us,” Brannon said. “We realized it (flooding) could happen in Lockhart and we realized we needed to have a special water rescue class.”

Brannon said he contacted SC Fire Academy Region Coordinator J.D. McCarley about arranging for him and the other firefighters to take part in a Water Rescue Ops Course offered through the academy.

McCarley proceeded to arrange the class which, at Brannon’s suggestion, was held in Lockhart.

“I felt it made sense to deliver this course here in Lockhart where the firefighters would be responding since Lockhart has a major river and a canal running through the town,” Brannon said.

The 16-hour course — which cost the department a total of $25, or $5 per firefighter — took place in Lockhart July 25-26 and included both a classroom portion and training sessions in a local pool. In addition to himself and the other Lockhart firefighters, Brannon said firefighters from Hilton Head, Great Falls, Gaffney, Chester, and Lancaster also took part in the course. However, Brannon said that before they could take the in the water portion of the class, they first had to pass two in the water tests.

“We had the classroom part at the fire department and then we went to Jeff Bailey’s pool where we had to swim 50 meters and then tread water for five minutes before we could even qualify to take the class,” Brannon said.

Once they had passed those tests, the in the water portion of the class began in earnest.

“The next phase of the training was learning the proper techniques,” Brannon said. “You have to learn how to fall in the water without hitting your head on anything. You have to learn how to tie knots, to do a run across a river. That’s using boats and all, so you could have people and boats in the water. We practiced throwing a rope to a live victim in the water and then we’d come together as a team to pull them to safety.”

Brannon said he and West, Rumfeld, Milton and Campbell all passed as did their counterparts from the other fire departments. By successfully completing the class, Brannon said he and his fellow Lockhart firefighers are now able to engage in water rescue, both in their fire district, the rest of Union County, and the rest of South Carolina.

“We can now assist in other flooded areas,” Brannon said. “We have a commitment with Chester to assist them in their rivers. We can assist throughout the rest of the county if there is flooding. If they need us down at the coast under the Mutual Aid Agreement they can call us in there.”

Brannon said that one thing that was taught in the class was that, in a water rescue situation, responders must always exercise caution and take care not to needlessly endanger themselves.

“We’re there to preserve life when possible, but we must first protect our own lives if we are to be able to accomplish our mission,” Brannon said.

To ensure that it has the tools to perform that mission, Brannon said that his department is in the process of trying to obtain the equipment it needs such as ropes and water rescue vests and equip one of its trucks with them.

While he and the other firefighters are now trained in water rescue, Brannon urged the public to always use caution when swimming or boating or any other activity involving water so as to reduce their likelihood of needing to be rescued.

“Always be careful around a body of water because drowning is the second leading cause of death,” Brannon said.

Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or cwarner@civitasmedia.com.

Courtesy photo
Firefighters from six different departments including the Lockhart Fire Department took part in a special Water Rescue Ops Course taught in Lockhart in late July. The training was requested by Lockhart Fire Chief Lee Brannon who took the course along with four other members of his department. The course, which was provided through the South Carolina Fire Academy, was taught in part at the Lockhart Fire Department and in part at the swimming pool owned by Jeff Bailey. By successfully completing the course, the firefighters are now able take part in water rescues.
http://www.uniondailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_Water-Rescue.jpgCourtesy photo
Firefighters from six different departments including the Lockhart Fire Department took part in a special Water Rescue Ops Course taught in Lockhart in late July. The training was requested by Lockhart Fire Chief Lee Brannon who took the course along with four other members of his department. The course, which was provided through the South Carolina Fire Academy, was taught in part at the Lockhart Fire Department and in part at the swimming pool owned by Jeff Bailey. By successfully completing the course, the firefighters are now able take part in water rescues.

Courtesy photo
Five members of the Lockhart Fire Department were among the firefighters from six departments who took part in a special Water Rescue Ops Course taught in Lockhart in late July. The course was requested by Lockhart Fire Chief Lee Brannon requested the course so that his department would have a team of firefighters trained in water rescue and able to effectively respond to an emergency involving a large body of water such as a river or lake or flood. The course was taught in Lockhart in late July and all five Lockhart firefighters including Brannon passed.
http://www.uniondailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_Water-Rescue-2.jpgCourtesy photo
Five members of the Lockhart Fire Department were among the firefighters from six departments who took part in a special Water Rescue Ops Course taught in Lockhart in late July. The course was requested by Lockhart Fire Chief Lee Brannon requested the course so that his department would have a team of firefighters trained in water rescue and able to effectively respond to an emergency involving a large body of water such as a river or lake or flood. The course was taught in Lockhart in late July and all five Lockhart firefighters including Brannon passed.
Lockhart firefighters complete training course

By Charles Warner

cwarner@civitasmedia.com

Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or cwarner@civitasmedia.com.

Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or cwarner@civitasmedia.com.

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