Our friends at the Norwich Township Fire Department spent a few days at Prairie Oaks Metro Park teaching Rangers about water safety and water rescue operations. Nearly every Metro Park has some sort of water (pond, lake, creek). Therefore, nearly every Metro Park has potential for water rescues. In 2015, Rangers at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park assisted in at least four water rescues along the Big and Little Darby Creeks, and Rangers at Three Creeks Metro Park assisted in at least one water rescue along Alum Creek. While this training did not certify the Rangers as Water Rescue Technicians, it did give them the opportunity to become familiar with water rescue operations, practice some water rescue techniques, as well as learn about self rescue techniques in case they end up in the water themselves. Most importantly, Rangers and Firefighters had the opportunity to work together, ask questions, and practice techniques, without the stress of a real life rescue situation.
While at Darby Bend Lakes, Rangers received instruction in flat water rescue techniques. They were able to practice how to use throw rope bags to throw to individuals in the water, as well as two different techniques for getting a victim floating in deep water into a boat. Training then moved to Big Darby Creek, where they learned many swift water rescue concepts. Rangers practiced self-rescue techniques, such as how to safely float in a river and how to use body position against the current to help cross the river while floating. They also learned how to swim in current, how to use a boat paddle as a support to walk through swift current, and how to do a multiple person crossing, using a wedge formation to create their own eddy to cross swift current. Rangers also practiced using a throw rope in current, and how to use the current to swing the victim to shore once the victim has hold of the throw rope. The training ended with a rescue scenario of a victim with a broken leg, stuck on a log in swift current.
We can’t thank the Firefighters from Norwich Township enough for providing us this great training experience. You can learn more about water safety and boating safety too. Don’t forget personal flotation devices (PFD) are required by law when boating, canoeing or kayaking in Ohio. According to the United States Coast Guard’s website, “9 out of 10 drownings occur on inland waters, most within a few feet of safety.” Make sure you have the right PFD, and remember, it can’t help you if you aren’t wearing it! Click here for a list of boating and paddling opportunities in your Metro Parks.