Lakewood Fire Department Practicing Water Rescue on Rocky River, Lake ErieMay 19, 2015
Once the fire department gets a call from dispatch, firefighters have the ability to be on the boat — and in the water — within five minutes. The training came in handy last summer when a boat caught fire near the mouth of the river. In addition, there were about 15 calls of water rescues last year.
Capt. Matt Preuer said the water rescues — along with rope and trench rescues — are a “low frequency, high risk” type of call.
“We don’t do many water rescues, but when we do, the risk is great,” he said. “We need to train for these sort of events because we don’t see them all the time. We need to be prepared.”
Firefighters also practiced using the boat’s fire hoses, which draw water from Lake Erie, to extinguish fires.
In 2012, the city bought a 21-foot, duel-engine Ribcraft rescue boat allowing the department to quickly respond to calls on Lake Erie and the Rocky River. The fire department moved its water rescue boat to Clifton Lagoon in 2013 when Clifton Park Trustees donated the dock space.