Last Tuesday, firefighters from the South Shore and across the state got together at the West Elm Street entrance of Luddam’s Ford Pond Park. They put on their wet suits as well as rescue gear and learnt more on how to make zip line rescues in the Indian Head River. “They’re learning how to build a zip line and transport someone from one side of the river to the other,” stated Fran Clark, an instructor from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy.
The firefighters made their way across the river to fasten a line to a tree. After that, they had to attach a pulley to the other end. These firefighters came from different areas including Pembroke, Marshfield, Abington, Rockland, Middleboro, Winchester, South Hadley, Kingston, Duxbury, Stoughton and Amherst to upgrade themselves and pick up new skills. They were taught how to use the water to glide themselves to the area where the victim would be. From there, they would be able to get a grip on them and pull them back to safety. “This is called a swift water rescue. The water is only moving a knot to a knot and one half,” explained Fran.
According to Fran, the firefighters were in the classroom a day before to take part in their first half of the training, which was more theory based. He mentioned that the participants discovered more about the various dynamics of a river. This will ensure that when they are out in the water, they would have better knowledge on how to handle the situation. After the theory class, they headed out to the Indian Head River the very next day from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m for a more practical session. The firefighters were taught on how to swim with and against the current as well as how to operate during a zip line rescue.
“We show them how to build the zip line, then how it works. You keep your feet facing down stream. You put your hands out to ferry yourself. You don’t want to try to stand up, you might get your foot caught in something,” added Fran as he described how to swim with the current in a dangerous river. For the full story, you can check it out here.
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