The Nehalem Bay Fire and Rescue volunteer water rescue team took to the pool at NCRD to train for the myriad rescue scenarios that present themselves within our ocean, bays, rivers and streams.
“Our current water rescue program started in 1995,” said NBFR Chief Perry Sherbaugh. “Back then all we had for water rescues was a surfboard.”
By Brian Cameron
According to Sherbaugh it wasn’t until a near-disaster did the City of Manzanita decide to do something about funding a more substantial water rescue program for the Fire Department.
“A year before the program started we had a teenage girl get swept out to sea from a rip-current,” Sherbaugh said. “Her mother swam out to save her and she too got caught in the tide. I myself made it to the two of them on that surfboard, it was shortly thereafter they decided to fund the program.”
In response to that incident the City of Manzanita approved the purchase of two Jet Skis as well as initiate a fully-fledged water rescue program, which continues through to recently where this year’s volunteers kicked off their training season with their Swim Qualifications.
“We train to respond to river, bay and ocean emergencies using our Jet Ski watercraft,” said NBFR Division/Training Officer Frank Knight III. “The NCRD pool has become a great toll for us and their staff is always eager to help us achieve our training goals.”
Part of their training will take place at the NCRD pool but a good majority of it lies out in Nehalem Bay and the ocean surf off Manzanita. The NBFR has been using the pool at NCRD since before the formation of the Rescue District.
“The pool is only the beginning of the training season. The majority of our training takes place in the Nehalem Bay and the ocean off Manzanita beach.” Knight said. “We have a total of 11 members, two of which are beginning their first year on the Water Rescue Team.”
The water rescue team is an entirely volunteer program within the district.
“It’s not required for all our volunteers, in fact we even have one who isn’t a fire fighter but is on the team regardless.” Chief Sherbaugh said. “While the program is dangerous and requires additional training it has proven to be a valuable asset to our community.”