The Elgin Fire Department’s water rescue and recovery team is training with a new boat this week, and it will officially go into service at Fire Station 1 on Thursday, July 9.
The specialized boat used for water rescue response into low head dams will replace a 20-year-old specialized dam entry watercraft.
“It is vital to have the most updated, modern equipment to give firefighters and civilians the best possible chance for a positive outcome in a water rescue,” said Elgin Fire Chief Robb Cagann.
The Elgin Fire Department purchased the Waterwog 3 Rescue Boat from Creature Craft® after receiving a $18,890 grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, the corporate giving arm of the Firehouse Subs sandwich franchise that provides first responders grants for life saving equipment.
The Elgin City Council approved funding for the remaining cost of the boat in March.
This Creature Craft® will greatly improve the safety of water rescue team personnel when tasked with performing dangerous rescue operations in the hazardous environment of a low head dam. It will also increase the probability of being able to perform a rescue of someone trapped in the dam.
Water rescue incidents in low head dams are low frequency, high risk events which have unfortunately resulted in several deaths in Elgin alone.
The city began acquiring emergency water crafts after two firefighters perished during a water rescue at the Kimball Street damn in 1974. This is the city’s third such purchase.
The price of the new Creature Craft® was $33,800.49, costing the city $14,910.49 after receiving the grant.
“I’m very grateful to Firehouse Subs for its contribution to this important piece of rescue equipment,” Cagann said. “I’m also thankful for city council’s support and our water rescue team’s work to identify the replacement need and grant opportunity.”
The Elgin Fire Department water rescue and recovery team will gain enhanced operational capabilities with the new craft. Since many jurisdictions do not have this type of specialized response watercraft, Elgin’s team is often requested in trainings and at incidents by neighboring communities in Kane and Cook counties, as well as by other communities within the state.
In recent years, Elgin’s team has responded to a water rescue and recovery incident at a dam in a community more than 90 miles away.
The boat will off further assistance to the city in areas such as federal and state highway/bridge inspections, water safety public events, water safety training and municipal water infrastructure inspections.
SOURCE: Elgin Fire Department news release