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Oswego Firefighters Test the Cold Waters of Lake Ontario

OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego Fire Department began the spring portion of its water rescue training Tuesday in Lake Ontario.

OFD crews were in the water near Wright’s Landing, where the water was a brisk 35 degrees.

Now that the weather has seemingly broken, firefighters were able to participate in several scenario-based water rescue drills.

Crews spent the better part of the morning maneuvering the small, inflatable rescue boat to pull “victims” from the water.

Water rescue personnel wear specialized immersion suits to maintain body temperature during the cold weather months.

The Oswego Fire Department will continue this cold water rescue training through Friday, so all personnel are brought up to speed.

The OFD also has a new fire / rescue boat that will see its maiden voyage sometime this summer.

The boat was purchased with mostly federal and local grant money, facilitated by the Oswego County Emergency Management Office.

The old boat, named “Beau,” after past Chief Donald Beauchene, is nearing its end of service.

The “Beau” has served the city of Oswego well, allowing our firefighters to rescue hundreds of people stranded in the river, on the breakwall, or injured in boating accidents.

The new boat, yet to be named, has both rescue and firefighting capabilities, making it a very versatile piece of equipment.

Assistant Chief Don Dowd stated that “with limited land access to buildings that face our waterfront, this boat will offer much needed fire protection to locations we can’t access with an engine or ladder truck.”

The OFD is proud to protect the citizens and visitors of Oswego with a number of specialty emergency services, such as water rescue.

All personnel receive training in the swift waters of the Oswego River, as well as Lake Ontario.

Remember, if you are near the water, wear a lifejacket!

The OFD has a supply of lifejackets available for rent, free of charge.

These are available at department headquarters on East Cayuga Street.

For questions, comments, or concerns, call the OFD headquarters at (315) 343-2161.