Lake Cowichan Fire Department practice river rescue techniques on the Cowichan River.

Lake Cowichan Fire Department practice river rescue techniques on the Cowichan River.

LCFD river rescue training

LCFD working hard to ensure that they are prepared to perform river and lake rescues.

The Lake Cowichan Fire Department has been working hard on all levels to ensure that they are prepared to perform river and lake rescues.

Throughout the summer, they could be seen in different locations along the Cowichan River practicing skills learned through instructors at Rescue Canada, an international accreditation agency, and through online courses through the same agency.

The department has recently undertaken a fundraising campaign that they hope will eventually see the purchase of a 12 foot, hard hull Zodiac boat and related rescue equipment that would be used in rescue situations.

The department has already secured much of the equipment needed for river rescue situations, including dry suits, boots, swift water helmets, three types of life vests, and throw bags used for throwing line from the shore to individuals in distress.

Some of this equipment was secured at minimal cost, or for free, through the courses taken through Rescue Canada.

The department needs to raise $25,000 for the boat, which would include the boat, trailer and engine. Knott estimates that it will take two or three years to raise the funds needed. Donation jars have been placed at locations around Lake Cowichan, and are especially prominent at the tills at Country Grocer.

“A boat is a safer way to operate [in river rescue situations] . . . we’ve certainly used one over the years many times, borrowing and using our own stuff and we should be practicing what we preach. Some of the stuff we’ve borrowed was not the best of stuff.  And if you go to the WorkSafe regulation, anytime we go within 15 feet of water we’re supposed to have some type of training and protection,” said Knott.

On Oct. 13, the Lake Cowichan Fire Department, and the Lake Cowichan RCMP will be partnering up to host a Bicycle Safety Rally at the firehall on North Shore Road. This is yet another way for local residents to support the department in its endeavour to purchase the much needed boat.

Sign up for a day of events including a bike safety rodeo for kids, trail races, and a safety and skills competition, will begin at 9 a.m., and activities will get under way at 10 a.m.

To keep up-to-date with Lake Cowichan Fire Department news and events, check out their website at lakecowichanfiredept.com, or like their Facebook page by searching Lake Cowichan Fire.