PGFD New Certified Emergency Boat Operators

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930     @PGFDPIO

During the first week of October everyone was keeping an eye on the path and preparing for Hurricane Joaquin as a fierce Nor' Easter pelted the Atlantic Coast.  Just prior to the posting of hurricane preparedness tips and flash flood safety tips 20 members of the Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department (PGFD) completed a Emergency Boat Operator (EBO) class.  Acquiring this certification means that you are already certified in Swift Water Rescue.  The Department was well prepared for whatever adverse weather came our way.  Fortunately, our water rescue services were not needed.

Having 20 new EBO's enables more operators to be on duty throughout the County and available at a moments notice.  "This is a 16 hour class that includes 8 hours of classroom instruction and 8 hours of practical instruction," said Jonathan W. Bender, PGFD Captain and a member of the Departments Technical Rescue Team.  He added, "The curriculum for the Boat Operators class was adopted through the Council of Governments Technical Rescue Subcommittee from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.  The practical training took place in Great Falls Park."

The newly certified Emergency Boat Operators will augment the personnel of the Departments Technical Rescue Team.  The Technical Rescue Team also handles high-angle rescues, collapse and confined space incidents.  The main Technical Rescue Station is at St. Joe's in Springdale.

Fire/EMS Stations at Laurel Rescue, St. Joe's and Fort Washington have rescue boats and are dispatched to all water rescue related incidents.  The Fire/EMS Department also has 2 facilities and several boats operated by the Volunteer Marine Division located in Baden and Fort Washington that are also alerted on water related rescues.

These images demonstrate the practical training in becoming a certified EBO.