MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Strong currents have been impacting local beaches in recent weeks, leading to water rescues in some cases.
Tuesday through Thursday this week, you might spot Manatee County Beach Patrol and West Manatee Fire Rescue training on Coquina Beach. They’re practicing different water rescue and entry techniques in case someone gets swept out into a rough current.
It is the first time the firefighter paramedics and lifeguards trained together, which Lt. David Snyder with Beach Patrol says is long overdue.
“We are trying to get them trained with their water entries because they have rescue swimmers. There’s a lot of shoreline here and we want them to be able to do rescues and active victim rescues or whatever the scenario calls for safely and effectively,” said Lt. Snyder.
The lifeguards showed firefighter paramedics different techniques such as ‘high stepping’ and ‘dolphin diving’ which aim to get rescuers through the water and to the victim as quickly as possible.
“Their training and their ability to conduct water rescues, it works for both of our safety and both of our benefit. If they are in the water, we can go and we can back them up and lend assistance, and they can come out and lend us assistance out in the water instead of just staying on the shoreline and waiting,” said Lt. Snyder “If we have, which we have had in the past, one rip rescue might be 12 people and you’ve got one lifeguard from the north end responding, that is a handful. So trust me when we look back and we see those guys in the water, we are going to be really happy,” he continued.
In addition to improving rescue skills, the training also aims at building rapport.
“It is always good to put names to faces and being able to get on scene and have a good rapport with somebody. Whenever we are responding to any water calls, or during a hurricane, it is good to have a good working relationship with everybody and that is what we are trying to build,” said Lt. Marshall Greene.