Lake Cowichan Fire/Rescue personnel have been spending a lot of time on the water lately

Lake Cowichan rescue crews get their feet wet

Practice makes perfect: Training key as fire crews get used to their new rescue equipment

Lake Cowichan Fire Chief Doug Knott has a rule: “No training, no boat.”

That’s why members have spent so much time learning boat rescue techniques for river and lake rescues since the their new rescue boat and rapid deployment craft arrived last year.

Swift water rescue trainers from Raven Rescue of Smithers B.C. were hired to teach the members water rescue and boat control in flowing rivers. Members have also been taught safe operation of their jet boat on Lake Cowichan.

“We are training them in all disciplines of rescue, swift water, technical rope rescue, ice rescue, as well as operating the jet boat safely.” commented Craig Gerrard from Raven Rescue.

The morning of Jan. 18 at Little Beach on the Cowichan River was cool but sunny. The firefighters were suited up in their Stanfields and survival suits to act as victims and rescuers as they practiced a multitude of different scenarios.

The LCFD’s jet boat and a yellow rapid deployment craft were used to assist swift water rescuers in performing these tasks.

With a campfire on shore to warm up by, the firefighters were eager to be in — or out of — the water.

There will be at least one more training session in February before all the firefighters are proficient in these rescue procedures.