Six police officers from Rotherham have received specialist water rescue training thanks to South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR), and will become ‘water rescue champions’ to save lives across Rotherham and South Yorkshire.
The water champions, Sergeants Sarah Roberts, Ray Bell and PCs Brad Hunt, Jack Deakin, Nathan Winder and Liam Woodward completed the water rescue first responder course in Llangollen, Wales.
The two day course put our officer’s resilience and fitness to the test to provide them with skills they can use if they are first on scene at a water related emergency, such as drowning and swimmers in difficulty.
Officers covered scenarios and techniques in the hazardous and fast-moving flow of the River Dee. They experienced bank-based rescue and in-water rescues in both daylight and the hours of darkness and specifically learned how the throw line can assist in rescues.
The training shown officers how they can give the public the best chance of survival should they come into difficulty in standing or moving water. At the end of day two, they worked in conjunction with SYFR and West Midlands Ambulance Service, to understand how services can work together in the rescue operation.
Inspector Alan McFarlane said: “The preservation of life is the most important duty the police have. The Rotherham district contains a number of bodies of open water, including Manvers Lake, where there have sadly been a number of drownings over the years.
“In order to increase the police’s ability to act effectively in open-water emergencies, we have purchased a number of throw-bag rescue aids to be carried in our police cars.
“Having a number of officers trained in basic water rescue means they can now share this water awareness knowledge with other officers in the force.
“We are grateful for the support we have received from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue which will improve our capabilities, coordination with the fire service and ultimately help to keep the people of South Yorkshire safe.”
Chief Inspector for Rotherham, Chris Foster added: “This is a really important initiative for both the public and emergency services in Rotherham district as it gives us extra skills and equipment to effect the immediate rescue of anyone who may be in difficulty within the many watercourses within our area. It is important we work together to protect the public in these types of situations.
“This initiative has been really well organised by Insp. McFarlane who has driven the project to ensure there is a spread of skills across our district and this will be disseminated to a number of our officers in the coming months. Thanks also to the officers who volunteered to go on this intensive training who appear to have been put through their paces and had their swimming skills challenged in a fast flowing river. Well done to all involved.”
Our six trained officers will now share their skills and knowledge with other officers across South Yorkshire and continue to develop their knowledge to save lives.
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