Flager firefighters train in ocean rescue

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A lifeguard looks on as Flagler firefighters work on required laps and time at Frieda Zamba pool on Wednesday.

BUNNELL, Fla. - Flagler County Fire Rescue is conducting courses to certify as many firefighters as possible in ocean rescue.

A total of 17 county firefighters are already certified and six more are taking the grueling one week Marine Rescue Operation course. The certification is in addition to the fact that Flagler County's Fire and Rescue members are dual certified as firefighters and paramedics.

"It is really important to have this training when you think about it," Trainer Aaron Price said at a practice session this week at Frieda Zamba Pool. "There is 19 miles of coastline in Flagler County and that doesn't include the fresh water lakes and the Intracoastal Waterway."

Price is a dual certified member of the Flagler Fire and Rescue and is also a certified ocean rescue trainer. He along with Lt. Mike Pius and Lt. Andrew Hardesty were certified in ocean rescue and later certified as trainers by the St. Johns County Fire Department.

The class begins at 1:30 in the afternoon with firefighters swimming 68 laps or 1,690 yards of various required swimming strokes. At 3:30 the class heads to the ocean at the 16th Road County Park and from 4:30 to 6:30 they practice ocean rescues and other swimming drills. Upon completion of the course, the participants will be certified with the National Fire Protection Association and U.S. Life Saving Association. They will also join the ranks with fellow Flagler County Firefighters as the only department certified in Ocean Rescue in Flagler County.

"Flagler County Firefighters are a dedicated group of individuals," County Administrator Craig Coffey said. "I commend them for their hard work and efforts to become certified in ocean rescue."

Press release from Flagler County Communications Manager, Carl Laundrie.