APRIL 2016 LFPD SWIFTWATER MEMBERSHIP STATS
Active Duty Fire Fighters with SW Training: 30
Shore Support 1: 1
Shore Support 2: 9
In-Water 1: 9
In-Water 2: 8
Conception of the LFPD Swiftwater Rescue program could arguably be stated to have begun in May 2011 while the department was working to update its 100-year and 500-year flood maps and flood plan. Chief JJ Hoffman felt that based on the historical record, another large flood was inevitable in the near future, and the district had best be prepared for such an event. It was at this time that Assistant Chief Paul Davidovich began drafting LFPD’s Swiftwater SOP. These maps were completed in August 2011 along with the SOP.
Fast forward to April 2012, when it was determined that the department needed to train its own members, that reliance on other agencies’ expertise would be poor planning in the event of a catastrophic flood. In February, initial equipment and gear was ordered and in early June, Assistant Chief Paul Davidovich courageously completed Dive Rescue International’s Swiftwater Rescue Training Program and later that month certified 12 LFPD firefighters.
Upon seeing the value of a strong and competent swiftwater program, the Chiefs decided to further develop the program by having two more firefighters become trainers. Therefore in June of 2013, two LFPD members completed the DRI trainer program, earning high marks and continuing the department’s pursuit of swiftwater preparedness. By July of 2013, over half the LFPD roster was certified in Swiftwater Rescue, and just 2 months later the Front Range was hit by the catastrophic 2013 flood. Because of the flood and disaster planning, swiftwater preparation, and the countless hours of the LFPD and civilian volunteer effort, the Lyons community experienced only 1 tragic casualty. Despite this loss, the event proved that with proper training and pre-planning, the dire results of catastrophic circumstances can be mitigated and even prevented.
Local agencies began requesting admittance to LFPD Swiftwater training programs to better prepare their own crews, and thus was born the LFPD Inter-Agency Swiftwater Training Program. The program has quickly established itself as one of the premiere swiftwater preparatory organizations in the area, preparing Boulder County agencies for 2+ years as a certified DRI Swiftwater Rescue training agency. Over 60 students from 9 different agencies have been through the LFPD program, greatly increasing both the quantity and quality of the Boulder County Swiftwater response.
To increase the training capabilities of the program, LFPD is pursuing a state-of-the-art swiftwater rescue park which would function as a regional training center for the Western United States. The park would allow rescuers to safely and reliably practice in-water vehicle extrications, building flood scenarios, and swiftwater awareness training for the public in a safe environment.
If you’re interested in having any members of your public safety agency join a training program, please contact the program leader at firstname.lastname@example.org.