LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Tuesday, Lawton firefighters got a chance to do some hands-on training in water search and rescues.
Two Lawton Fire Department boats were on Lake Helen, giving firefighters a chance to learn a new skill.
“Today we’re going over the basic operation of the boat, going over the motor, over how to start it how to drive it. We’ve got a serpentine course set up so the guys can practice making turns in the boats. We’ve got buckles which we can layout in the water and pull people into the boat if we had to do that in a situation. Just some basic rescue skills with it,” said Captain Josh Hall.
Those rescue skills could be the difference between life and death if a water emergency takes place.
“We’re going to be called on if we get a swift water, or any kind of water emergency, and we need to be prepared if and when that happens,” said Assistant Fire Chief Mark Murphy.
“It’s going to be just as important as working a car wreck, just as important as fighting a fire. They’re skills we need to be able to perform without any hesitation,” Hall said.
Crews from other departments trained Lawton firefighters in water rescues and Tuesday, they passed that knowledge along to everyone else in the department.
“If it’s a big call like we have the water rescue stuff, maybe these guys aren’t able to go because they’re on another call, but we need to pull another crew over to get one on the boat. It’s just good to make sure everyone is familiar with how it works, how it runs and how to rescue people with it,” Hall said.
Because of the style of the boats and the type of training, the hope is they’ll be ready to help in any situation they’re called up, no matter where it is.
“This could be Lake Lawtonka, this could be Lake Helen which we used it Sunday out here, it could be Cache Creek when it gets up, it could be down in the middle of Lawton if we got enough rain and the canal spilled over and we actually had to get in and get people. So, any scenario that you have that involves water, the boat could be a critical part of it,” Hall said.
“We not only would service the citizens of Lawton, but we’ll do surrounding communities too if called upon,” Murphy said.
The hope is that this is just the first round of training, with more water rescue training in the future. Captain Hall said he hopes the future training covers things like knowing how to properly flip the boat back over if it tips and the correct way to search for victims, both in the water and on the shore.