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    109th Firefighters ready for fast water rescues.

    109AW Airmen Train For Swift Water Rescue

    Photo By Tech. Sgt. Jamie Spaulding | Master Sgt. Brian Kissinger, Master Sgt. Brian Devlin, and Tech. Sgt. Daniel Marchand,...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Jamie Spaulding 

    109th Air Wing/Public affairs

    New York Air National Guard firefighters assigned to the 109th Airlift Wing are ready at a
    moment’s notice to respond to an aircraft incident or help out a local fire department.

    But the 109 th firefighters now also include three Airmen who are specially trained to save lives
    when flood waters rise.

    Master Sgt. Brian Kissinger, Master Sgt. Brian Devlin, and Technical Sgt. Daniel Marchand
    have all completed a four day course on shoreline operations and rescue techniques.

    The course, taught by the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency
    Services at its Swift Water and Flood Training Center in Oriskany, certifies graduates in fast-
    water flood rescue techniques.

    Kissinger, Devlin, and Marchand are the first Air Guard firefighters among the state’s five wings
    to get this flood response certification.

    “I’ve been a fireman for almost thirty years and it was the toughest training I’ve ever been
    through” Kissinger said.

    The Swift Water and Flood Training Center, or just SWIFT for short, is like a water park on

    The training center features a 3 acre pond, a flood simulator that allows for training in flooded
    streets and buildings, and a swift water channel to simulate currents of a river.

    The flood simulator has three pumps that can churn 30,000 gallons of water to create a variety
    of realistic, high intensity, flooding hazards, according to DHSES. Trainees learn to save
    drowning or stranded victims and how to maneuver themselves and boats in fast moving

    The 109th firefighters trained in how to navigate currents, use rescue rope and high line rope
    techniques and how to rescue victims from the water.

    The three are now part of the New York State Flood Incident Strike Team.

    Kissinger has been serving at the 109th as a Fireman for 19 years and is also a full time
    Fireman for Saratoga Springs Fire Department. He became swift water certified two years ago
    through the 109th Fire Department.

    “As a firefighter, you train to save someone’s life, all of the training and hours put in pay off
    when we are tasked and ready to be there if we are needed,” Kissinger said.

    The 109 th Airlift Wing decided to certify firefighters on swift water rescue skills as part of their
    mission of providing assets for urban search and rescue, Kissinger explained.

    The National Incident Management System, which details how federal, state and local agencies
    work together in emergencies, tasks Air National Guard fire departments with being able to
    participate in the urban search and rescue mission to support local governments, Kissinger

    Since New York has plenty of mountain streams, lakes, and rivers, flooding is likely to part of
    any emergency when a hurricane or tropical storm hits, he said.

    Kissinger explained there was a need for swift water trained personnel for New York’s Task
    Force 2 urban search and rescue team, so they volunteered to be a part of the team.

    Task Force 2 is made up of made up of New York firefighters, State Troopers, Department of
    Environmental Conservation workers, other 109 th Airlift Wing members, and other emergency
    agencies and is mobilized for incidents in Upstate New York.

    The 109th Airmen were the first in the New York Air National Guard to gain this certification.
    This training is becoming more sought after and the plan is to have 12-16 Airmen certified in the
    next couple of years.

    “Flood rescue is becoming more and more common in New York and local departments don’t
    have the equipment or training that we have to assist them,” said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Marchand.
    Marchand has spent 13 years as a 109 th Airlift Wing firefighter and seven years on the Scotia,
    New York, fire department, and serves as urban search and rescue team lead.

    Marchand, Kissinger, and Devlin were placed on standby on August 4 when Tropical Storm
    Isaias threatened New York.

    The Department of Emergency Services put Task Force 2 on alert and the three Airmen
    reported with other swift water rescuers to the Task Force 2 Command center in Guilderland,
    New York in case of flooding.

    It was a good mission and they were excited to be part of the team ready to aid local resident,
    Marchand said.

    “We see a need that the community has and we love to help people” said Marchand.



    Date Taken: 08.17.2020
    Date Posted: 08.17.2020 09:43
    Story ID: 376136
    Location: SCOTIA, NY, US 

    Web Views: 152
    Downloads: 1