Ala. First Responders Train for Water Rescues

Ala. First Responders Train for Water Rescues

News Jun 15, 2017

June 15—A Northport firefighter was "rescued" from an overturned flat-bottom boat in Two-Mile Creek on Wednesday afternoon during a flash-flood simulation.

The simulation was organized by the Tuscaloosa County Emergency Management Agency as a method to teach college graduate students attending the Summer Institute for the National Water Center.

The EMA partnered with area law enforcement agencies, fire departments, the American Red Cross, the United Way and several other entities to show the 33 graduate students the planning, equipment and techniques involved in responding to a water-based emergency.

For Northport Fire Rescue, the demonstration was hands-on. They set up in their new ladder truck and used its 95-foot aerial device to lower a stretcher basket into the creek and secure the "victim" while the students watched the drill from the Richard L. Platt Memorial Levee Trail.

Capt. Jason Norris said the simulation was for the students' benefit, but said training for high-risk, low frequency events would prove invaluable in the case of a flash flood or the unlikely failure of the city's levee.

"This is essential training," Norris said. "Technical rescue is what we call a perishable skill, which means if you don't do it very often, you lose that skill. Any opportunity we have to train in things like this, we take advantage of them because repetition is what builds excellence."

Other agencies were also eager to show off the tools they use to respond to disasters and emergencies. A pilot landed one of the Sheriff's Office helicopters nearby and talked to students about the role he plays as a first-responder. Members of the Tuscaloosa Dive Team were there to explain how they use SCUBA tanks and wetsuits to explore the Black Warrior River and nearby lakes when someone goes missing there.

Rob Robertson, the EMA director, said the students in attendance will soon be on the cutting edge of disaster response.

"These students are developing models that will incorporate the latest technologies available and put tools in the hands of first-responders in the field," Robertson said. "These are our PhD candidates and folks that will be making a lot of neat new tools for us to use in emergency management across the nation."

He said everyone involved benefits from events such as this.

Continue Reading

"We get to be a part of making tools that are brand new, we get to use and test those here in our county and in Alabama and that's a big benefit to us locally," Robertson said. "But it's also a good chance for our responders to get out and exercise, drill through using their equipment and techniques. This gets them together, to talk and to play together, and that's always a good thing."

This is the third year the National Water Center has hosted the Summer Institute, which is the brainchild of David Mainment, a civil engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Mainment said graduate students across the country competed fiercely for the opportunity to travel to Tuscaloosa for the seven-week program.

One such student was Kathleen Eubanks, who is studying coastal and ecological engineering at Louisiana State University.

Eubanks said she was forced to flee major flooding in Baton Rouge in August and said her studies at the Summer Institute will be a good professional complement to the personal experiences she's lived through in coastal Louisiana.

"Seeing all this gives me a sense of safety and hope," Eubanks said. "Ever since the flood, I'm nervous during every rainfall event, I go check the USGS stream gauges and stuff, you know? But seeing everything that goes into first response and the training they do, what they think about and how they plan, I think they've got it covered."

Eubanks said her first days at the Summer Institute have only driven her to work harder for rest of the program because she understands the value of the work they're doing.

"This demonstration was surreal but motivating," Eubanks said. "It has really fueled me to work because it's my family and it's my neighbors that this kind of work will help."

Reach Stephen Dethrage at stephen.dethrage@tuscaloosanews.com or 722-0227.

___ (c)2017 The Tuscaloosa News, Ala. Visit The Tuscaloosa News, Ala. at www.tuscaloosanews.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Source
mcclatchy
Stephen Dethrage
First responders, physicians, nurses, and dispatch officers practiced their active shooter protocols while the incident commander on scene was thrown curveballs as part of the scenario to test the individual's ability to prioritize actions.
Athanasia “Ethel” Ventura received the $1,000 reward from Platinum, whose goal is to provide students entering the EMS, Nursing, and Allied Health fields with assistance in funding their education.
The exercise featured a 7.0 magnitude earthquake causing a train derailment, which struck a car containing toxic chemicals.
"It's a hard fact that EMS sits in the epicenter of the opioid epidemic," said Rob Lawrence, Chief Operating Officer of Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA), at the Pinnacle EMS conference in Boca Raton, Florida.
How should EMS prepare for today's disaster threats?
Over 50 percent of respondents in a 2005 survey by the NAEMT say they have been assaulted by patients but receive little to no training on how to de-escalate violent patient situations.
The teams responded to a drill involving a drug lab at a university where a hazardous situation arose after a bad chemical reaction occurred.
It can be a habit that improves your practice and your life.
Norway joins six other countries by offering a bachelor’s degree in paramedic science.
Christine Uhlhorn, firefighter of 28 years and assistant fire chief, volunteered at a weekend-long camp to train middle school girls in basic firefighting skills to encourage recruitment.
High school students interested in firefighting can obtain hands-on practice with the fire truck and join a fire cadet training program after graduation.
The highly skilled team members practiced drills inside a local school in preparation for a possible active shooter situation.
The drill involving over 200 people put multiple first responder agencies to the test.
The training was based on lessons learned from the Columbine shooting and taught school employees safety and security measures.
The training will be focused on prescribing buprenorphine, the drug used to assist patients in quitting their opiate addiction and relieve withdrawal symptoms.