City of Columbus Firefighters will be providing water rescue education to a group of C4 Criminal Justice students at Columbus East High School on December 6th and 7th.  The C4 students study various components of public safety throughout their course. An important portion of their studies highlight multi-agency operations and how Police, Fire, and EMS organizations often work alongside one another during emergency incidents. For the past three years, Columbus firefighters have been invited to visit the C-4 students and speak on how emergency personnel respond to water related emergencies. The first class session will educate approximately 40 high school students on the dangers associated with water rescue operations, specifically fast moving water. During the didactic portion, students will become familiar with the methodology of water rescue, an introduction to hydrology, rescue equipment and its function, and how multiple agencies often work together at the scene of a water related emergency.

During the second session, students will enter the Columbus East High School pool where they will apply what they have learned through a series of shore and water based rescue scenarios. These students will be using actual fire department rescue equipment to rescue their fellow classmates while under the direction of the fire department instructors.  Through these scenario based skills evolutions, the students will quickly identify that rescuer safety is just as important as the safety of those that they will be rescuing. The students will gear up with rescue helmets, don personal flotation devices (life jackets), and use various tools to reach a victim in the water. They will also enter the water and rescue a victim in distress.  Our hope is that through this educational opportunity, these students will have a greater understanding of the dangers that exist in water related emergencies and the resources that are required for successful water rescues. This awareness training includes an abridged version of the water rescue portion of NFPA Standard 1670: Standard on Operations and Training for Technical Search and Rescue.  The 1670 standard identifies and establishes levels of functional capability for efficiently and effectively conducting operations at technical search and rescue incidents while minimizing threats to rescuers. This standard is used by first responders through the United States and we are thrilled to have to opportunity to share our knowledge with this group of C-4 students. CFD believes that education leads to prevention. This course will not result in a certification; however, it will provide the students with an appreciation for the power of water and how to avoid becoming a victim.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2005 -2014, there was an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings annually in the United States. Roughly 20 percent of those deaths were children 14 and younger.