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Beloit’s Water Rescue Team prepares for winter emergencies

(NBC15)
Published: Dec. 26, 2017 at 10:22 PM CST
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CITY OF BELOIT, Wis. (WMTV) -- While we look for ways to stay warm emergency crews are prepared to deal with freezing temperatures.

A lot has changed in the City of Beloit Fire Department's Water Rescue Team in the past five years.

“We found there was a deficiency in our department at that time. We weren't really trained for that type of stuff," said Lieutenant Jason Griffin.

Griffin is talking about a situation when the Turtle Creek was flooded and kids went canoeing and needed to be rescued.

"What happened was we got on scene and this was over our head," said Griffin.

Thanks to help from another department, everyone was okay. Since then, the City of Beloit Fire Department has stepped up efforts to be prepared for water rescues. It now trains six times a year and has an extensive selection of equipment to use in emergencies.

"If we actually fall through the ice, we can deploy ice picks and we are able to help ourselves out and we'd use these and poke these into the ice and pull ourselves up," said Griffin talking about water ice rescue survival suits.

The department also has a jet ski designed for water rescues.

"This was the first one in the United States," said Griffin.

It is being prepared for the worst that Griffin said brings the best outcome.

"There's a lot of departments that just get their validation training or their certification and then they kind of put it off to the side. We felt that doing that wasn't good enough because we're going to put people in danger so making sure we train more and get comfortable in these suits, doing this type of rescue, that's going to help out the entire incident in the end," said Griffin.

Going beyond the Beloit community, the fire department was on standby to travel to Texas for Hurricane Harvey relief. It also helped provide help in Burlington, Wisconsin, during floods this past summer.