Cold Lake Fire-Rescue’s service level respecting water rescue and recovery presently has been restricted to an awareness level but not anymore, as Council has agreed to purchase rescue watercraft and recovery tools .
On Saturday, June 5, the City of Cold Lake – Cold Lake Fire-Rescue were called to the Beaver River at a rural location on Highway 867, south of Highway 55 East for a missing person on the river located in the municipal jurisdiction of the Municipal District of Bonnyville.
Cold Lake Fire-Rescue (CLFR) responded to the scene and conducted a search into the evening using CLFR’s Oceanid Rapid Deployment Craft (water rescue craft) on the water and foot patrols along the banks of the river.
The Cold Lake RCMP Detachment also deployed other resources such as Cold Lake Search and Rescue, Cold Lake Ambulance Society, as well as 4 Wing Search and Rescue.
“Although maybe not fully apparent to the public, there is a lot moving parts in any emergency and no emergent situation is ever the same,” The City of Cold Lake stated in City documents.
Kevin Nagoya is the Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Cold Lake.
“A debrief of this event (inclusive of the RCMP, City of Cold Lake and the Municipal District of Bonnyville) raised a number of discussion points relating to procedures, jurisdiction, communications and watercraft rescue and recovery tools that could enhance emergency management support services,” Nagoya said. “While there is a rich amount of water and water activity in the Cold Lake region, water activities reside outside of City limits (including Cold Lake itself). The rivers in the region are seeing an increase to recreational activity. Further, the rivers present unique challenges i.e. fast flowing in spring, murky water, and shoreline difficult to navigate.”
Acknowledging recent discussions between the City and the M.D., there seems to be support in providing further equipment and training assist with water rescue services, Nagoya added.
Craig Copeland is the Mayor of the City of Cold Lake.
“The staff and fire department have done a great job in looking at all of the different options out there and so, you know, we’ve identified a couple of zodiacs, something like six or seven people can get on board, a boat that can be carried down the steep bank for example the Beaver River,” Mayor Copeland told Lakeland Connect on the Morning After.
Two Zodiac ERB 380 emergency response seven person boats will be purchased. They offer a highly portable and rapidly deployed service. To address underwater detection, two AquaEyes will also be purchased by the City of Cold Lake, which are a hand-held sonar service designed for rapid water rescue response.
“We know that our friends at the M.D. of Bonnyville we’re also interested in getting involved,” Mayor of the City of Cold Lake said.
The purchase of equipment will cost $32,000 and will be funded from the Council Contingency.
Council agreed to the purchase.