In an effort to always be ready to respond to emergency water rescue events, the Goldens Bridge Fire Department held a joint water-rescue training drill.
The training session, held Tuesday, July 16, was aimed at sharpening the skills of first responders in rescue procedures and deployment of equipment – and, equally important, to raise water safety awareness, department officials said.
Members of the marine units of the Goldens Bridge and Croton Falls fire departments and the Yorktown Heights Fire Department dive team held the water-rescue training at the Muscoot Reservoir – where the frozen bodies of two fishermen from New York City were discovered on New Year’s Day.
During the training, the three departments participated in drills that included the deployment of marine equipment and simulated rescues of boaters and swimmers in distress or in need of medical attention.
“These training drills sharpen the skills of firefighters and prepare us for a number of potential water emergency realities, but we also use this opportunity to educate the thousands of recreational boaters that come from Westchester and New York City to fish, swim or just enjoy the sun on the reservoirs and lakes abundant in the northern region of the county,” said Fire Chief James McManus of the Goldens Bridge Fire Department.
McManus said local fire departments are prepared to respond to water emergencies and accidents, from capsized boats to swimmers in distress, to medical emergencies.
“People sometimes don’t realize their physical limitations or their inability to swim – and that’s when they get into trouble. A little common sense and knowing your abilities go a long way to practicing good water safety,” McManus said.
Whether a weekend fishing excursion in the reservoir or a swim in a lake, McManus offered some safety tips to avoid a day of recreation from turning into a tragedy:
- Know your limitations and abilities … carelessness and inexperience get you in trouble
- Avoid overloading your boat with gear and people … small boats are prone to capsizing
- Always wear life-saving flotation devices
- Never consume alcohol when you’re on the water
- Know your swimming ability … avoid exhaustion or you may not be able to pull yourself back into the boat
- Respect the water, even the calmness of lakes and reservoirs.
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