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County emergency personnel practice rescue operations

Rescue personnel and local divers helped retrieve mannequins from this submerged car during training exercises Sunday at the Hawesville boat ramp.

The Hancock County Dive Team, Hawesville Fire Department, HC Rescue Squad, and HC Emergency Services hosted a Training Day on Sunday, October 15th. Ohio County Divers and volunteer firefighters with the Ohio County Fire Department were part of this training as well.

Don Arison, Owner of Bob’s Garage & Towing, donated his time and wrecker services, as well as an old car that 3 mannequins were loaded into. The vehicle was first drained of all gas and other fluids, and then lowered into the river from the Hawesville boat dock. HC Rescue Squad members took out their boats, and the groups collaborated together for an invaluable training experience. Afterward, the vehicle was removed.

“I think this was an exceptional day to train,” said Dive Master and long-time Hawesville Fire Department Volunteer Firefighter Hugh Ogle, “because the elements didn’t exactly help us. The wind was really rough. We had trouble with the boats but we still got the car out and we still saved the ‘victims’. The Dive Team all worked really well together.

The HC Dive Team – we have about 12 on our roster, but we ALWAYS need more divers. They’re here today to get experience like this. We try to train with Blue Meridian in Owensboro whenever we can. It’s a good way to learn how to dive and all of their people are professional. That’s where I learned how to dive. Nick Jarboe (Lewisport Police Officer), Chris Meyers, all of them learned there.”

Prep Day

Perry County Rescue Squad and HC Dive Team member David Faulkenberg is a Master Scuba Diver, Trainer & Instructor certified through the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI, a world-wide organization). He was involved in the training exercise Sunday, as well as the preparation day for it on Saturday at Vastwood lake. “We did some preliminary diving with everybody at Vastwood, and got permission to be inside at the beach,” David said. “We practiced recovering the mannequins from the park area, and there was practice out in the lake where people swim.

Personnel help extract the rescue boat from the river during training exercises Sunday. The event included a divers go to rescue manikins from a submerged car.

It’s good practice. I was thankful they were able to secure that. We were there until dark Saturday evening, because this is one of the lakes where, I hope it never happens, a call may come and you have some teenagers, or young people who came in there to party and swim after dark in the summertime. I know they camp at Vastwood. That is why we needed to do this and to get a prep day for Sunday.

You have boating accidents and drowning accidents with people because they are out on a nice, sunny day, but there are also people who are making a living on the Ohio River and doing things, and maybe just out exploring, or bad weather hits when it was good before. So to be out when it’s windy, choppy and cool and it’s kind of dark and overcast – that’s when things happen too and it’s good to get the training because if you can do it in that kind of water and weather, you can do it when it’s calm.

Without Don donating his time and vehicle, we would lose so much realism. It is rare for vehicles to end up in the water, but they’re high-critical and

high-risk when that occurs and the way to train is when we can kind of control some things to do that.

How we got started with this, was Hugh Ogle and Nick Jarboe were talking about trying to do some additional training. We talked to Kyle Veach (HC EMA Director) and tried to put something together just to give everybody a chance [to get some experience], especially different units here. We put this out for both rescue groups and the fire departments, and for medical emergency services. It was the late Hawesville Fire Department Chief Rick Montague’s original idea from a few years ago.

I just got involved in this because of our rescue team over there [in Perry County]. A lot of this came into being when we all answer the calls together. That kind of started everybody wanting to work together. We all work in conjunction with each other. The HC Rescue Squad brought their boats out here and then it gives them a bunch of time of boat handling in this kind of wind and weather, which they usually don’t have that. It’s a good day to get out here and train and get everybody together and see what’s going to happen, and what works and what doesn’t.

I have several people here, some from Ohio County. They wanted to do some training and so we just all got together. We’re really appreciative of Don Arison and the local government making it possible for him to be able to do this and donate the use of a vehicle. It gave everyone a chance to do the actual thing before it becomes necessary for them to get out there.”

By Jennifer Wimmer

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