Water Rescue Training

Posted: Aug 7, 2023, 4:31 PM

Rescuing victims from wrecked vehicles is a challenge for emergency personnel, and that task becomes even more difficult if the accident involves a body of water.

Emergency responders and firefighters from Bossier Parish Fire Districts 1 and 2 plus the Haughton Fire Department learned through practice the techniques for safely removing victims from vehicles that have crashed into water.

Dist. 1 Chief Robert Roe said the 12-hour classroom and hands-on training seminar at the Bayou Bodcau reservoir will help emergency personnel should they be faced with potentially life and death situations.

"We're always looking at ways to improve our capabilities and when we heard about this program we thought it made sense to get experts to train our personnel," Roe said. "The company conducts many seminars on canal rescue, and our bayous here are like canals so the training techniques are the same."

Roe said Gulf States Dive and Rescue, located in Harvey, LA, has been conducting training sessions on canal rescue and in-water vehicle extrication for more than 20 years. First responders across Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and other states have been trained in the "how to" of swift water and flood rescue.

"Our bayous here like Red Chute, Fifi, Bodcau and Flat River are just like canals, so the training techniques apply very well," Roe said. "We also have Lake Bistineau and the Red River in our area of operations so any in-water training only helps us more."

Training for 17 responders from the three departments was held just below the Bodcau dam where Gulf States provided a vehicle for in-water practice. With the training, Roe said each department would have responders with the knowledge to work in-water accidents and provide support when needed.

"We'll have individuals from each department who can respond to these type of accidents, plus there will be support teams from the other departments that can be on stand-by or act in a support capacity," he said. "It's good for all of us and it gives our residents another level of security."