APPLETON, Wis.(WFRV)- The Summer season is in full swing after the 4th of July holiday, which means many people will head out onto the water for boating and kayaking activities. Local 5’s Eric Richards got a first-hand look at the swift water rescue training with the Appleton Fire Department.
The Appleton Fire Department has added three new members to their swift water rescue team, which means the need for additional training. “They already did classroom training for a full day, so today we are doing water skills,” said Ethan Kroll, Battalion Chief for the Department.
Kroll says a number of exercises will be completed on Monday and Tuesday. “They are learning how to either swim or walk out to someone who is in distress, where the water is moving fast enough and deep enough that we could actually walk out to get them,” said Kroll.
Tim Verstegen has been a firefighter with the Department for two years and recently joined the swift water rescue team. “It’s fun to be in the training. It’s fun to be in the water and to get out of the station and so some things,” said Verstegen.
Geographically, there is easy access to water which means training like this is necessary and ongoing even after the summer season is over. “We also have ice river rescue training as well for people who are out ice fishing and fall through the ice,” said Kroll.
If you or someone you know is headed out onto the water, Officials have a suggestion regardless of skill set. ” Obviously we’re always looking for personal floatation devices, some kind of life jacket,” said Kroll. There are various options in life vests, that include some with extra cooling systems that can keep your body temperature down when you are in direct sunlight. “Even if you think you don’t need anything, you should put on a vest,” said Kroll.