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Emergency responders learn water-rescue skills

VIDEO: Rescue swimmer training for emergency responders

Emergency responders learn to swim blind through thickets, fend off attacks in the water, jump from a dock without losing sight of a victim, and other skills for water rescue.
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Emergency responders learn to swim blind through thickets, fend off attacks in the water, jump from a dock without losing sight of a victim, and other skills for water rescue.

Emergency responders from a range of South Sound fire and police departments splashed into the Fircrest city pool Tuesday and Wednesday to train up on conducting water rescues.

West Pierce Fire & Rescue hosts the training program up to twice a year, usually for 10 or more responders from emergency agencies at a time, department spokeswoman Jenny Weekes said. This spring’s group of 11 emergency responders came from five fire departments as well as Lakewood police, she said. The program includes a week of training, with pool time to help prepare for lake or ocean rescues.

“It basically trains rescuers to be ready for any kind of incident on the water,” Weekes said.

She said the main need for water rescues happens within Lakewood’s lakes, but that response teams can come from a variety of departments, depending on the situation. Because of that, it makes sense to pool resources about training.

“It’s great to have the collaboration with everybody taking the same class,” she said. “Everybody knows the same folks that are going to be in the water with them.”

Derrick Nunnally: 253-597-8693, @dcnunnally

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