Water rescue crew demonstrate new equipment at Stevenage lake

A member of the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Water Rescue Team prepares to be rescued for a demonst

A member of the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Water Rescue Team prepares to be rescued for a demonstration of the new water rescue post installed at Fairland Valley Lakes. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Firefighters were at Stevenage’s Fairlands Valley Park today to demonstrate the new lakeside water rescue equipment.

The new water rescue post installed at Fairland Valley Lakes. Picture: Danny Loo

The new water rescue post installed at Fairland Valley Lakes. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

The two new water rescue points, on opposite sides of the main lake, contain rescue equipment accessed using a code provided by 999 responders – with emergency crews immediately alerted.

Crew Commander Tim Bright and the water rescue unit based at Hatfield fire station were on hand at Fairlands Valley Park to help demonstrate the equipment and put on some practice rescues.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JONyjrip5Rs

Tim told the Comet: “Upon finding someone in the water, our advice to you is never to enter the water to rescue that person, but to use these locations.

“As you phone 999, you can give the location that you’re at, and it’ll give you the code to open this box. Upon opening the box, you’ll find a floating rescue line within there, with its instruction of how to use it on it.

A member of the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Water Rescue Team during a demonstration of the new wa

A member of the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Water Rescue Team during a demonstration of the new water rescue post installed at Fairland Valley Lakes. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

“As you open it, you hold onto the hand-loop, take yourself back and throw that underarm straight at the person.

“During this time the emergency services will be on their way to you. It’s important they know exactly where you are so they can help you with your rescue.”

A member of the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Water Rescue Team during a demonstration of the new wa

A member of the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Water Rescue Team during a demonstration of the new water rescue post installed at Fairland Valley Lakes. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

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Stevenage Borough Council has installed the cabinets, which were first trialled by Bath City Council.

The life-belts inside the rescue points replace traditional life-rings, which were kept openly on five stands and regularly went missing – meaning it was rare for them all to be there at any time.

A member of the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Water Rescue Team prepares to be rescued for a demonst

A member of the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Water Rescue Team prepares to be rescued for a demonstration of the new water rescue post installed at Fairland Valley Lakes. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

The rescue points are about 6ft tall and are topped with orange lights that flash at nighttime.

A borough council spokesman said: “Swimming is not permitted in the lakes, and fortunately incidents of people getting into trouble in the water are rare. However, the cabinets will ensure that if people do get into trouble, help can be provided in seconds.”

With one of the firefighters swimming out into the very cold water to be recovered, the crew put on two practice rescues – one using a rescue buoy similar to the ones in the new rescue cabinets, and one using a liferaft.

The demonstration comes a week after police, ambulance and fire crews rushed to the lake at Fairlands Valley Park to rescue a 23-year-old woman, who needed hospital treatment.

Another massive search was mounted in late January amid concerns someone may have fallen in, but nobody was found.