Recent water rescue training near Sullivan Road Bridge.
The rescue capabilities of the Department’s 27-member Special Operations team have expanded with the addition of a versatile new inflatable rescue boat. SVFD recently purchased the Zodiac Milpro Emergency Response Boat (ERB) 380 with trailer and a pump-jet 30 H.P. safety motor for about $21,500.
The power boat is the latest addition to SVFD’s water rescue fleet which also includes four kayaks, a cataraft and a floating rescue dummy.
The boat brings significant improvements in safety for citizens and firefighters by allowing a faster, more flexible response. For the first time, firefighters can easily travel back upstream when needed for search and rescue. The boat is highly portable and easy to deploy, operates in as little as 18 inches of water and has a sturdy aluminum floor so firefighters can perform CPR and other medical care on the boat. It is nearly 13 feet long and holds up to six people. It will respond to water rescue emergencies with three members of the Special Operations team.
Nine Special Operations team members – Matt Brodsky, Tom Carleton, Matt Jorgensen, Scott Klettke, Bob Leaming, Mark Knokey, Dan Patterson, Brian Treffry and Ryan Van Wey –traveled to Portland earlier this spring where they completed an intensive “Train the Trainer” class and became Certified Rescue Boat Operators. Training for the rest of the team and regional partners is underway. The new rescue boat will be in service as soon as training is completed.
SVFD automatically responds to all water rescue calls with the Spokane Fire Department and they respond in kind to our calls. Our Department’s water rescue response capabilities compliment Spokane Fire Department’s Water Rescue team and the Spokane County Sheriff Department’s Dive team. Our Special Operations team has responded to 31 water rescue incidents so far in 2017, as compared to a total of 27 for all of 2016.