Myrtle Beach Fire Department undergoes water rescue training -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Myrtle Beach Fire Department undergoes water rescue training

Myrtle Beach Fire Department water rescue team Myrtle Beach Fire Department water rescue team
Source: Jenna DeAngelis Source: Jenna DeAngelis

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - From pools, to the ocean, even retention ponds, drownings are all too common in our area. That's why a team of Myrtle Beach firefighters are undergoing new training.

The goal with the Myrtle Beach Fire Department’s water rescue team is to have more first-responders ready to get to you here in an emergency.

The 22 member team, allows for seven firefighters to be on shift at a time, across the six fire stations in the city. This way, when a call comes in, there's always someone close, to head out.

In the past, firefighters, even if first on scene, say they didn't have the proper training they needed to respond.

"Its kind of frustrating for people to see us stand on the side while we wait for beach patrol or a lifeguard to come,” Lt. Bettinazzi said.

But the tides, have changed. The Fire Department's water rescue team will work as a support system to lifeguards and beach patrol, its all about strength in numbers.

Duke Brown with Horry County Beach Patrol has been training our firefighters to handle all situations, at any time.

"A lot of drownings have taken place, of course, after hours, in the rivers, in the ponds and so on,” said Brown. “These guys are going to be seeing action after lifeguards go off duty."

While training is still taking place, it has people talking, turning heads, and is already making a difference.

It makes me feel great because I also have a little one, makes me feel secure about her safety and mine,” visitor Shaquoia Miller said.

Firefighters admit, the process has not been easy. Its been weeks of Red Cross training in the pool, and training with the United States Lifesaving Association in the ocean. At the end of the day, the firefighters are hoping their efforts ultimately, will help save more lives.

“I definitely think it's gonna make a big difference,” Myrtle Beach Fire Department Lieutenant Vince Bettinazzi said. “I don’t think we could ever have enough people out there providing safety.”

The water rescue team will undergo continued training to make sure they are prepared to save you.

According to the Myrtle Beach Fire Department, they are one of the few along the east coast to have this type of training.

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