City Officials Respond to Water Emergency Report

Baihly Warfield
November 22, 2017 10:46 PM

Duluth city officials said Wednesday they will meet in the next couple of weeks regarding a community member's report on Park Point water emergencies. 

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They said for now, they are still going through the report and deciding what suggestions might be feasible. 

Duluth Fire Chief Dennis Edwards said he always appreciates when community members take an interest. 

"This isn't a new call to action for the fire chief to increase what we can do. We are always doing that," Edwards said. 

He said there is a lot of information in Gary Glass' report, and there are unique challenges that working in a city on Lake Superior present. 

However, he said the fire department is constantly making improvements to all sorts of rescue scenarios -- including rough water emergencies. 

"It's always a challenge to continue to improve and keep up with what's industry best practice," Edwards said. "But that is what we deal with every day on this job -- trying to get better. Our people, every day, try to get better at what we do."

One thing that may help in the future is an all-hazard response boat, which DFD still needs to raise about $20,000 for. 

Duluth Program and Facilities Manager Erik Birkeland said it's a good opportunity for the city to reassess its own involvement in parks safety. 

"This is city property, so I think we need to understand how folks are using city property for recreational purposes and really carefully define what is our role, whether it's providing lifeguards, the red flag program," Birkeland said. "What is our role? And how best can we manage that?"

Birkeland said with such a large parks system, there are always risks. 

"When the public notifies us and provides us with feedback, we like to take that seriously, take a look at it, and lay it up against what we're doing and consider if there's improvements that we can make," he said. 

Right now, it's too preliminary to say what those might be, Birkeland said, but there will be a meeting in the next couple of weeks. 


Baihly Warfield

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