Reedley Fire Department SERT Rescue Team
Every fire department must be keenly aware of the unique hazards that face its community. The City of Reedley Fire Department (RFD) is no different. In order to adequately provide protection for the citizens and visitors to the City of Reedley, the RFD operates a special unit called “SERT”, which is an acronym for Swiftwater Emergency Response Team.
Because of its unique geographical location, Reedley is home to part of the lower Kings River. Every year people from all over travel down the waterways that give Reedley part of its uniqueness. Many people enjoy the relaxing pastime of floating, boating, swimming and fishing in the lower Kings River. However, the river can prove dangerous for those who neglect or abuse its power. Department members know this all too well. One of the problems we find is that most people don’t understand the dynamics of the river, they have inadequate safety equipment and they end up getting themselves into trouble.
To address these hazards and render assistance, the RFD has specially trained firefighters who occasionally patrol the river during the hot summer season and are always available, even during flood events. Our function is to protect life and property on the waterways that pass through our city, region and state.
Today Reedley has firefighters who have completed specialized training which qualifies them to be active in rescue operations in and around the river and waterways in general. That number continues to grow as more firefighters are trained every year in dealing with the special hazards that are involved in water rescues.
Firefighters must complete classroom training and hands on instruction in real swift water conditions. These firefighters receive special training pertaining to self-preservation, technical rope skills, reading water conditions and using specialized water rescue equipment. The SERT team is also trained on the use of watercraft in special rescue operations.
The SERT rescue team responds to incidents in Rescue 331, a dedicated van-type vehicle that carries specialized rescue equipment and tows the departments two rescue watercraft.
For more information about water safety and boating regulations, please see Kings River Safety