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Swift Water Rescue Training at Lake Castaic

By frhayes | February 5, 2009

 On January 28, 2009 members from the Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD) comprised of personnel from the Marine Safety Division and the Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) team participated in a multi-agency water rescue drill. This event hosted by the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACOFD) was held at Lake Castaic in the San Fernando Valley. Additional agencies that participated included the Los Angeles City Fire Department and the Sheriffs Department. The LBFD towed their Office of Emergency Services (OES) trailer and Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) Thunderduck for participation in operations. Specific disciplines that were addressed included the use of IRB's, Personnel Water Craft (PWC), and how to incorporate helicopters safely and efficiently during rescues. This annual training allows our Swift Water Rescue Team members to enhance inter-agency water rescue responses, and increase coordination, and cooperation.  The LBFD members can respond as teams of two, or when assembled in a configuration of seven Firefighters pared with seven Lifeguards, making up Swift Water Rescue Task Force 12 (SWRTF 12). One of the very few tasks forces of this configuration and specialized abilities in the Nation. Last year in September the LBFD demonstrated our commitment to helping others in times of disasters. SWRTF 12 was deployed to Louisiana in response to the damage caused by Hurricane Gustaff, to perform search and rescue missions. In addition to being prepared to help others in need, on a National level, the Swift Water Rescue Team is placed into operation when certain benchmarks of rainfall are met. The team can also be requested when their specialized tools equipment, and experience can assist with operations in the city of Long Beach, or when neighboring jurisdictions forward a request.

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