BRAXTON COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — Emergency officials from areas across the Mountain State met at Sutton Lake today for an emergency swift water rescue training after the tragic drowning of a firefighter earlier this year.
All seven Braxton County fire departments were present, as well as the county EMS, Sutton Police Department, and leaders of the Swiftwater Rescue Team — who led the training.
Teams were taught what equipment to use in various situations, what gear to wear and how to put it on, and other critical lifesaving lessons.
And Braxton County officials said this type of training is long overdue.
“It’s critical when we have this much water and we have these many people come out for recreational boating on the lakes, or you have kayakers on the rivers, or if we have a flooding situation,” said John Hoffman, the Emergency Manager for Braxton County. “The people are going to call, and someone from the emergency response community will have to pitch in and do a piece of the job.”
Officials said that after Saturday, they will be meeting on whether or not they just need more gear, or a new water safety team.
“There are a lot of calls, a lot of people use the lakes, a lot of people come here to swim,” said Kevin Clendenin, the Fire Chief for Clendenin Fire Department. “You also get your seasonal rains and roadway flooding different times of the year, so there’s definitely a need.”