Water Rescue

Four Firefighters Complete Rescue Swimmer Training

Last week, four West Pierce Fire & Rescue (WPFR) firefighters successfully completed their Rapid Entry Rescue Swimmer training. Instructed by retired WPFR personnel who developed this program, the course is designed to give first responders the skills they need to safely perform water rescue efforts, even in the worst conditions.

This class included 29 students from fire departments in Western Washington. They spent two days training in a pool setting and two more days training in American Lake in Lakewood.

At any given time, at least three WPFR firefighters trained as rescue swimmers are on-duty in order to best protect the community. This ensures firefighters are able to safely enter the water and begin search efforts immediately. WPFR has both rescue swimmers and divers trained to ensure the success of this life-saving program.

On average, WPFR responds to 35 water rescue incidents per year, both within lakes and Puget Sound. WPFR has three boats strategically placed throughout the fire district, two of which respond to the many lakes. The third, Fireboat Endeavor, is moored at Narrows Marina and responds to Puget Sound. Fireboat Endeavor is a regional asset that not only responds to incidents within WPFR’s jurisdiction, but assists other local agencies, should help be needed.

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