Chatham-Kent Fire & Emergency Services operates 3 Specialty Teams. They are the Dive Team, High Angle Rescue Team and Ice/Water Rescue Team.
Chatham-Kent Fire & Emergency Services operates a fully trained and equipped dive team. The team consists of 8 divers and 11 dive tenders. The personnel are based out of Stations #1, 2, and 3. The dive team is responsible for providing rescue, recovery, and support services throughout the entire municipality. The team is under the direction of the dive co-ordinator and 2 dive supervisors, who operate at the advanced level. The team is prepared to operate under all conditions, such as black water diving and cold water. High quality commercial dry suits assist in allowing operations to be continued under all environmental conditions.
The dive team trains at various locations throughout Chatham-Kent, in order to be familiar with the particular challenges found in the different areas. The participation in training with our fast water specialists and members of our high level/high angle team, allows for the additional technical support required.
The equipment is easily deployed from Station# 3 Wallaceburg on the dedicated rescue vehicle and Station# 1 Chatham with dive equipment carried on a multi-use trailer. This allows for easy set-up for both the North and South ends of the community. The dive team plays a very integral part of multi-agency response with the Police, Ambulance and CK-SARVA.
High Angle Rescue
The High Angle Rescue Team is based out of Station #18. The team is capable of performing rescues on silos, bridges, tall buildings, grain elevators, steep slopes, water towers and cliffs. The rescue team consists of firefighters from South Raleigh, Blenheim, North Harwich and Dover Stations. Members of the team are recertified annually and accredited provincially with slope rescue and high level rescue 3. The High Angle team is available to go anywhere in the municipality.
Members have been taught the basics of knot tying and shown how to pick the right rings, harnesses and climbing equipment to safely lower themselves and potential victims to the ground. Training consists of rope work, anchoring, belaying and repelling techniques as well as focusing on the skills required to move accident victims up or down from accident sites to medical transport. Skills taught in training are easily transferable to almost any vertical environment. From this training, team members can take back to their stations a broader base of rescue knowledge, a greater degree of confidence in their abilities and the satisfaction of having participated in an intensive team training experience. Communication and trust are essential in potential incidents of this nature. Team members must have trust in each other’s capabilities and also in the ropes they are harnessed to.
One of the main challenges faced is being able to suspend a victim from a height, and often the rescuer is lifting the victim from a lower position. When someone is inside of a silo it is essential to get an Emergency First Response member in as soon as possible to assess the situation. If CPR is needed, this can complicate the rescue, as it has to be performed continuously during the rescue, which means that two members have to be lifted at the same time. Team members receive continuous training on situations of this nature. In a cliff rescue, there are some differences, however many of the same rigging and rescue principles are used. But there could be added physical pressure since more people are needed to help haul the victim up, which means that there could be three or four rescuers plus the victim, being hauled up on the rope.
The Chatham-Kent Fire Service responds to ice/water incidents. All Stations have the ability to operate as a land based rescue team. Stations #1 Chatham, #3 Wallaceburg, #14 Erieau and #5 Chatham-North provide an enhanced level of ice/water rescue from their strategically placed locations on the Sydenham River, Thames River and Rondeau/Lake Erie.
In addition to providing rescue services to these particular locations, they provide ice/water rescue support in all Chatham-Kent areas on bodies of water (drainage schemes and farm ponds).