Training is an everyday event for members of the Muscatine Fire Department and each shift has been spending time working on water rescue techniques over the past several days. Part of that training occurred at the Muscatine Community YMCA where firefighters donned their wetsuits and practiced water rescues.
Another part occurred inside Riverside Park as the firefighters worked on using a rope gun during water rescues.
“We have had this rope gun in our toolbox for four years but have only had to use it once during an actual emergency,” Battalion Chief Ted Hillard said. “Ensuring that all staff are trained in its use guarantees that we are ready to deploy the rope gun when it is needed during a rescue.”
Firefighters have trained on using the rope gun since the tool was added to the department’s rescue equipment arsenal four years ago.
“We have hired several new firefighters over the past several months who are still in training and becoming familiar with the rope gun is part of that training,” Fire Chief Jerry Ewers said. “Having hands-on experience on this specialty tool benefits everyone.”
The rope gun uses compressed air to fire a canister that is attached to a rope towards a victim. The canister contains an inflatable vest that automatically inflates once it touches the water.
Proper preparation of the gun and canisters are essential to the success of deployment. Preparing the rope gun for additional discharges is time consuming, so being able to get it right the first time is one of the key components of the training.