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Jet Skis join fire department equipment
When you think of the Yuma Fire Department, what do you think? Not necessarily a Jet Ski, right?
The fact that some people don't associate Jet Skis with firefighting prompted the YFD to demonstrate the tools used for the swiftwater rescue training for the media Friday at the West Wetlands Park boating dock.
The fire department does respond to emergency calls regarding distressed swimmers and has been doing it for about a year, said YFD spokesman Mike Erfert.
When the YFD responds to a distressed swimmer, it uses a Zodiac boat and a Jet Ski. "The Zodiac boat is just another tool we have that can do a job that the Jet Ski cannot do," Erfert said. "It's a platform for our dive team."
The Zodiac boat is able to go across shallow waters to get to the distressed swimmer, Erfert said.
The benefit of the Jet Ski when compared to the Zodiac or any kind of boat is the ability to overcome any current. The skid is attached on the back of the Jet Ski and used as tool to transport injured patients.
YFD firefighters go through more training around summertime when there are more swimmers out in the river, Erfert said.
"Even though is in the desert, we still have significant connection with the water," Erfert said.
The fire department put on Friday's demonstration in response to inquiries from the media and public about the reason for the department use of Jet Skis. The questions came in the wake of a Jet Ski accident Sunday on the Colorado River that injured three Yuma firefighters who were taking part in a swiftwater rescue raining exercise.
Two of the firefighters were treated at Yuma Regional Medical Center and released while the third, Fire Capt. Gene Tutell, was listed in fair condition at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix.
Stephanie Sanchez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6847.