New rescue boats for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service after 179 water-related incidents in 10 years
PUBLISHED: 08:30 31 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:58 31 January 2020
New replacement rescue boats for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service will enable firefighters to respond quicker to water incidents.
Equipped with the latest technology, the new boats have a more powerful engine and inflate in under a minute compared to the three to four minutes the old boats took.
This means that crews can get the boats off the rescue vehicle, into the water and reach the casualty in a significantly faster time.
Jamie Johnson, group commander, said: "People often know that we deal with fires and road traffic accidents but don't always appreciate that we carry out water rescues too.
"Over the last 10 years we've attended 179 water related incidents and rescued 162 people from water.
"Our boat crews undertake a three-day rigorous training course to ensure they are skilled in water rescue techniques for different in-water situations.
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"This could be to rescue people who have fallen in, got into trouble whilst swimming or people whose cars have ended up in water.
"Every second counts when it comes to water rescues where someone's life is in danger."
Two of the new boats will be put on the rescue vehicles in Peterborough and Cambridge. The third will be used for training, which will ensure the other two boats are always available.
Crews will be out on the local waterways over the next few weeks familiarising themselves with the new equipment and carrying out training exercises to practise using them.
Once all crews are trained, the new boats will replace the current ones.
Station commander Kevin Andrews said: "As well as responding to emergencies in water, the fire service proactively undertakes water safety education.
"For a number of years, crews have been delivering water safety presentations in schools to encourage students to take extra care when they are in and around the county's waterways and to consider the risks."