March 03, 2008
Fire departments must always work to meet the many needs of the people they protect. For some, water rescue and the ability to respond to water related accidents are among these. You might be amazed to learn as I was, that in some cities and towns water related incidents outnumber fire-related injuries and fatalities.
You don't need to be located on the ocean to justify or require a fire/rescue boat. Many landlocked towns are using boats on reservoirs, rivers, and lakes. If a town has a marina, homes tightly nestled along the water's edge, thousands of recreational boaters and swimmers be they on a lake, ocean, or reservoir a rescue boat is essential to respond to the inevitable accidents.
Beyond the expected rescue responses, a rescue boat also provides departments with access to remote locations that aren't accessible by land – be it an island or remote wooded area located on a large lake or along the ocean. A proper rescue craft can also assist stranded watercraft, contain hazmat spills and search for drowning victims.
In speaking with fire department and rescue experts, a major criteria for a rescue craft is that it must provide a stable working platform capable of handling a wide variety of emergency situations. A rescue boat should be able to carry a crew of two to five personnel plus their equipment as well as any potential victims. There should be enough open deck space to carry victims on backboards or to be able to administer medical care while on the water. A boat that can only carry one person like a Jet Ski or SeaDoo is useless and not effective for rescues. In addition to stability, a boat must be easy to maneuver in tight locations or in conditions with high winds, rapid flowing water, or in heavy seas. Additionally, it is recommended that the boat is equipped with enough power to provide a cruising speed of 25 to 50 mph.
When considering a new rescue boat, it's important to consider what needs the boat must meet. Does it need to be deployed for each use or moored in the water? Will it be for fire suppression or for search and rescue applications? Who will be using it – trained dive teams or the town's lifeguards?
Most important however is to remember that a fire/ rescue boat is first and foremost a workboat and the boat you decide to purchase should be specified and built as such. Though your local boat dealer may sell a popular brand that's "perfect" for your family's boating activities, it's most likely not going to be up to the challenges your department faces. You need a boat that can withstand the most severe conditions.
The best way to find out what boats are the best for your department is to ask departments that already own them.
Posted by ribcraftusa at March 3, 2008 01:43 PMBack To Index