WAYNE, WV (WOWK) – When a person goes missing in a body of water, there are specific crews who are dispatched to assist in the search.
You may have seen fire firefighters in action fighting house fires, but their responsibilities span far past responding to fire alarms. In some cases, they have to take their skills out onto the water.
When you think of a fire department, you may think of fire engines, loud sirens, and putting out house fires, but many departments are equipped with boats designed for search and rescue missions.
Last week, the Ceredo and Lavalette Volunteer Fire Departments along with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a report of a missing swimmer at Beech Fork Lake. After hours of searching, the swimmer’s body was eventually recovered.
Ceredo Volunteer Fire Chief Robbie Robson says situations like this create a different playing field for rescuers.
You know, when you get into the water. It’s a completely different situation. Water is ever-changing, so we have to be very cautious about our divers, our rescue swimmers, and our personnel on our boats when they put them in the water.Robbie Robson, Ceredo Volunteer Fire Chief
Sonars on boats, as well as, divers in the water assist in speeding up the search process. However, once the sun goes down, the search becomes even more difficult.
Robson says “In the nighttime hours, it gets almost impossible to do a rescue and recovery.”
Search missions may require more rescuers than one department may have. Having other departments able to assist in search and recovery missions is a crucial element. Robson says without the collaboration between their department and others in the area, the rescue effort would have been slowed down significantly.