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Intensive Training Prepares South Mississippi First Responders for On-the-Water Accidents

WIGGINS, Miss. (WLOX) – First responders from around the coast gathered Saturday morning for training to help equip them for on-the-water emergencies.

The intensive session was held in Wiggins, Mississippi beginning at 10:30 a.m.

The protocols and procedures were taught to Stone County Fire Service, Wiggins Fire Department, and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Flotilla. All personnel were assigned to boating crash rescue missions on the 450-acre lake inside Flint Creek Water Park.

Stone County Fire Coordinator, Todd Cospelich says the objective is for all departments to work as a unit.

“Our overall goal rather than train independently and separately is that we can train together so when we have or if we have the opportunity or need to work together then we’ll be able to do it,” said Cospelich.

For approximately three hours, the first responders carried out the rigorous exercises that focused on timing, awareness, and overall safety.

One of the most important steps in the training was learning how to properly transport victims from water to ambulance and aircraft.

Marine Patrol Deputy Robert Lambeth says boating incidents are quite common, so the training is a necessity.

“I mean we have those pretty regular in the Summertime and the Wintertime; I would say five to six accidents a year,” says Lambeth.

Lambeth also says the process isn’t easy, so repetition is key to retaining the procedures.

“Hopefully we can all learn something from each other.” Lambeth said. “Everybody has a little something to bring to the table.”

Some of the other agencies involved in the exercise included the Wiggins Police Department, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Stone County EMA, AAA, and AMR. The training session happens twice a year.

Source : WLOX