Streetsboro -- The city's firefighter/paramedics are training to better assist members of the Portage County Dive Team before they arrive at water rescue emergencies, Fire Chief Robert Reinholz said.
Streetsboro personnel conducted a training exercise in June at Woodside Lake Park Campground.
"It depends on the situation, but we would try to help the dive team keep [the victim] alive," he said. "We could provide life preservers until the dive team responds. We can gather information like where the person was last spotted, so the dive team can get into the water right away when they arrive. As first-responders, there are things we can do to assist the dive team, so they don't have to start from scratch."
Streetsboro firefighter/paramedics would arrive at the scene before the county dive team, which consists of fire and EMS personnel from across Portage County, according to Reinholz. They are summoned and drive from their respective locations in case of a water emergency.
"With all these special teams with special functions and training, it may take 20-25 minutes for the [dive] team to come," he said. "So the initial responders are learning some of the techniques that the dive team uses.
"One of the worst scenarios is, if you're there to rescue them, and you see somebody is drowning, they want you to do something," he said. "They can start doing what the dive team would be doing, so we're much more efficient and effective."
The June training exercise will help Streetsboro firefighters "get ready in case some [emergency] does happen," according to Reinholz. "We have first-responders. We may have about 15 minutes before [the county dive team members] get there, so there are things we can do to facilitate a faster rescue" before "the dive team members can get into wet suits and go in the water."
He said Streetsboro firefighters do not have water rescue equipment like wet suits, which is why the county dive team exists.
"It's difficult for one community to have all those resources and be able to support it," he said.
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