Alameda Firefighters Trained in Water Rescue Following Tragedy

by Staff Blogger | July 11th, 2011

July 11, 2011

Twenty Alameda firefighters have been trained in water rescue and another 16 are slated for training following the Memorial Day drowning of a man at Robert Crown Memorial State Beach, where rescuers’ hands were tied by department policy.

Firerescue1.com reported that interim Chief Mike D’Orazi calls the new water rescue unit “a work in progress,” with specialized water and equipment training planned through the fall. The department’s new 14-foot rescue vessel will be operational by September 1st. With an overwhelming number of firefighters volunteering for the training, classes will run at least until the beginning of October.

The city’s policy on water rescue underwent serious evaluation following the drowning. D’Orazi immediately changed department policy to allow a senior firefighter at the scene to use their discretion to determine if a water rescue would be attempted. Mayor Marie Gilmour has also asked the fire marshal to conduct a full investigation of the events leading up to the drowning, and the decisions of different officials and departments which may have allowed the tragedy to occur.

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