Pelham Fire Department provides water safety with new rescue boat
Published 3:14 pm Wednesday, October 14, 2015
By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer
PELHAM— The Pelham Fire Department put its new R ONE Series connector-style rescue boat to good use out at Oak Mountain State Park, providing water safety for Jefferson County Adapted P.E.’s canoeing outing.
Lt. Billy Earnest and other members of the fire department patrolled amidst the dozen canoes in lake Oct. 12-14. Most of the participants were children with special needs and volunteers from the adapted physical education program.
“This is fantastic. These are the events that a firefighter lives for,” Earnest said. “We have great people we work with here, and it makes us feel good about what we are doing, being able to volunteer with them.”
The firefighters watched as the kids paddle with instructors around the river, and Earnest said the responders help out in occasions when the kids have difficulties with the water.
It’s a fun event and an opportunity to give back, according to Earnest. It’s also a way the Pelham Fire Department can connect with the community by joining the group’s lunch at the end of the day.
“We have a task to do today and that’s to ensure safety for the kids,” Earnest said. “It’s a great opportunity to give back.”
The fire department first purchased the $32,810 rescue boat, trailer and related equipment and electronics Aug. 4 after it was approved by the City Council. Since then Earnest said they have taken it out for multiple training opportunities.
“The boat is fantastic. Right now the capacity for the boat is at 800 pounds,” he said. “We are going to use it as a rescue and recovery boat, but for these events, when we are out here needing some water safety, we’ll have guys who are good swimmers who will be able to rescue kids if necessary.”
Previous to purchasing the R ONE Series boat, Pelham had to reach out to the Calera Police Department when needed a rescue boat. In having its own boat, Pelham’s responders are training extensively and can help out other cities in emergency situations.
This rescue boat is adept for shallow and flood waters and has a dive ramp, which makes it easy to pull people into the boat. The boat is usually housed at Station No. 2 where many of the firefighters are also certified divers, according to Earnest.