Water rescue training off Sanibel’s south coast
For three days, a countywide water operations training drill was held off the south coast of Sanibel. It consisted of an above and below water search and rescue component, as well as a simulated boat fire. The concept of the plan is to have the first arriving fire department establish the command system on shore.
“(This drill) prepares us for any emergency, large or small, anywhere,” said Sanibel Training Officers Tim Barrett. “By training with local, state and federal law enforcement, our response and communications will be seamless.”
In addition, the agencies use MERT (Marine Emergency Response Team) to form a dedicated group of trained responders for initial emergency care. MERT training are multi-jurisdicitional events, involving search and rescue, diving and firefighting skills. Participation in these events give extensive training along with the experience of working with many other agencies to accomplish a single goal water safety.
“We had a large occupancy vessel wreck, throwing out several victims and catching fire,” said Barrett about one of the many scenarios used during the training. “This required fire suppression, surface and dive rescue.”
Homeland security, U.S. Coast Guard, SERAT, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Sanibel law enforcement, along with fire departments in Estero, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers Shores, City of Fort Myers were involved in the recent water training exercises.