Fire and Police join forces on water rescue training

Six police officers from South Yorkshire have received specialist water rescue training thanks to a unique collaboration with the fire service’s specialist training school.

The ‘water rescue champions’ from South Yorkshire Police recently completed a water rescue first responder course delivered by expert trainers at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue. The course provided the officers with basic water rescue skills and awareness that they can use when they are first on scene to a water related emergency situation.

The two day course, which took place in Wales, covered a number of simple rescue techniques such as; a tethered swim, the use of throwlines, wading techniques, understanding the dangers of water and the use of water rescue gear.

Station Manager at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, Darren Robertson said: “Around 400 people needlessly drown in the UK every year and thousands more suffer injury, some life changing, through near-drowning experiences. By working closely with our partner agencies and sharing skills and knowledge through training, we can work towards reducing these numbers.

“Not only does collaborating on training like this save both services and the public money, but it also ensures we are delivering the best possible service to the people of South Yorkshire.”

As a result of the training, South Yorkshire Police have also purchased a number of throwlines to keep in patrol vehicles in case of a water rescue emergency.

Inspector at South Yorkshire Police, 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, the Rotherham District has purchased a number of throw-bag rescue aids to be carried in patrol 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.”

The Policing & Crime Act 2017 placed a new statutory duty on all three emergency services to look at opportunities to work with one another better to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

The dangers of open water are:

  • The water can be much deeper than you expect
  • Rivers, lakes, canals and reservoirs are much colder than you think
  • Open water can carry water borne diseases, like Weils disease
  • Cold water dramatically affects your ability to swim
  • There may be hidden currents, which can pull you under the water
  • You don’t know what lies beneath, like pieces of rubbish or reeds which can trap or injure you

This content was last updated on May 03rd, 2019