Faster search and rescue operations with Superior Fire Department

Faster search and rescue operations with Superior Fire Department

There will be faster search and rescue operations with Superior Fire Department now that they can use a jet ski for water emergencies.

When there is a water emergency every second is critical for first responders to perform a rescue. Superior’s Fire Department Chief Cameron Vollbrecht says, in years past they had to rely on a slower watercraft for rescues. However, they now have a new jet ski for faster search and rescue water emergencies.  

“There’s been a number of rescues on the water, both from the Duluth side as well as ours in the last two years,” Chief Vollbrecht said. “One of the things that a lot of coastal communities have, including the city of Duluth, is a personal watercraft, or commonly known as the Jet Ski, to perform rescues in heavy surf. Also being quick to deploy to areas within a harbor or beaches, and not having any exterior moving parts like a propeller would in a boat that may cause issues during rescue.”

Chief Vollbrecht talked about the protocol for the new jet ski use for faster search and rescue operations.

“It’s going to depend on where the rescue is,” Chief Vollbrecht said. “One of our stations, either station two or station three will respond to Barker’s Island, fire up the jet ski, and then be able to quickly mobilize to anywhere on the harbor.

The Superior Fire Department were able to invest in faster response times for water emergencies thanks to a generous donation. Cenovus Energy provided $28,000 to help improve water safety for people swimming in Lake Superior. Jeff Savage, the Senior Manager for Health, Safety and Emergency Response explained the importance of this investment.

“Our core value is safety of others and protect what matters. When we heard that the City of Superior Fire Department needed this equipment, it was a no-brainer for us,” Savage said. “What’s really important to us and to the Fire Department is for everyone to go home safe every day.”

While the equipment is important, Savage also emphasized the importance of taking the steps to make sure people don’t find themselves in need of rescue. Saying people should know their limits and not over exert themselves.

“We don’t get long summers, we tend to enjoy it. But at the end of the day, once again, we don’t want to overdo it. We all tend to indulge when we get those 80, 90 degree days. But when we make mistakes in the water, they can be very detrimental,” Savage said. “So they just need to understand really the risks associated with what they’re doing every day and make sure that they have a plan to mitigate those risks.”

Here are some tips to stay safe swimming this summer,

  • Never swim alone
  • Stay in designated swimming areas
  • Wear sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher)
  • Avoid swimming after heavy rain
  • Wear a life vest in deeper waters

For more information about other safety tips being in the water you can read more here. Also for other stories with the Superior Fire Department you can read more here.