Severe Thunderstorm & Tornado Warnings
On Saturday Evening, after being alerted to the possibility of a Tornado and Severe Thunderstorms, the call came into SBES to assist our partners in the Flemington Area when they got inundated with requests to rescue folks from cars stuck in rising water.
Flemington-Raritan First Aid & Rescue Squad initially requested our Special Services 365 high-water unit to assist with multiple water entrapped persons on Rt 202/31 in the area of Everitts Road. This was just the first of 12 separate incidents that our department assisted with in Raritan Township, East Amwell Township, Franklin Township and Clinton Township.
Units responding included Water Rescue 365-2 along with Marine 365-3 and an inflatable unit, Utility 365-1 who picked up another boat from Flemington Rescue's station to assist at calls, and the Special Services. Eleven members staffed these units, while an additional 9 personnel continued to staff our primary stations for both EMS & additional Rescue calls.
After clearing the initial calls, the units were staging in the Flemington Borough area along with units from West Amwell Fire, Whitehouse Rescue, Flemington's units and the Hunterdon County Office of Emergency Management.
Units operated not only at the 12 dispatched calls, but multiple other assists along the way as they came upon other units. In total more than 2 dozen drivers who found themselves stuck in flash flood conditions were safely removed from vehicles and brought to drier land.
Our Water Rescue Technicians train locally through several private companies as well as with the Hunterdon County Emergency Services Training Center, usually in the Delaware River, the closest "simulation" that we can produce to these types of conditions.
Two years ago, four rescuers from South Branch Emergency Services travelled to the NY State Preparedness Training Center where they have a full swiftwater rescue simulator for specialized training and preparedness for events like this weekend. Unfortunately, it is one of very few in the Country where First Responders can be trained in a safer & controlled environment, and one that our agency has been a supporter of building for many years.
If you would like information about joining our Water Rescue Team, or becoming an EMT with our agency, please visit www.SBES365.org
Clinton Township, NJ (Hunterdon) – Just prior to 4pm Tuesday June 29th, South Branch Emergency Services was alerted to respond to the Round Valley Recreation Area to meet with the State Lifeguards to check out a juvenile swimmer who had been pulled from the swimming area and was ill.
Upon arrival of our first Ambulance five minutes after dispatch, lifeguard in charge Tiffany Osti, who happens to also be a volunteer here at South Branch, met with the EMT’s and advised that 2 juveniles had been rescued by family, fellow swimmers and NJ State Parks Lifeguards after falling off a sandbar in the swimming area.
While crews were evaluating those involved, they were notified by NJ State Parks Lifeguards that there was a potential additional victim that had not been seen coming out of the water. They initiated their missing person protocols, and a call was made for additional Ambulances and our Water Rescue team to respond.
Water Rescue 365, Utility 365, Marine units 2, 3 & 4 responded and command was established on the Beach by SBES Chief Frank Setnicky. “Upon our arrival, the lifeguards were actively doing surface dives and searches of the entire swimming area” he stated of the initial response. He added, “Our marine units they were deployed to start doing surface searches with rescue swimmers and rescue boats”.
Due to the nature of the call, our Incident Commander requested the Lambertville Fire
Department Dive Rescue Team, who responded with 6 divers, 2 tenders and support staff.
Also requested was our REHAB unit due to the excessive heat, and additional support staff.
NJ State Police Aviation Unit, known as NorthStar, was called to assist in the search of the
swimming area from above. After several high level and low searches, they were unable to spot any items of interest.
LFD divers and tenders suited up and were transported to the "point last seen" by SBES boats. The divers then performed tethered searches of the bottom in water with about 3-6 feet of visibility in depths ranging from 8 to 21 feet. The search area was expanded as divers were rotated. The LFD divers performed 80 minutes of searching, also with negative results.
As per protocol, NJ State Police Marine Unit out of Carteret was contacted and requested to respond to the scene. They arrived as subsequent searches yield no findings, and investigations by the NJ State Parks Police who were on scene yielded no additional reports of missing persons.
Twenty four South Branch Emergency Services personnel responded to this incident over the course of the 3 hours search.
The search was cancelled by 7pm, with units clearing up over the next half hour.
By Caroline Fassett | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
South Branch Emergency Services, a rescue squad that serves a number of communities throughout Hunterdon County, held a rescue drill at the Round Valley Recreation Area in Clinton Township on Sunday morning.
The training involved both the ground and water units rescuing three hikers in distress as well as victims of an overturned boat in the water. The victim actors were members of the squad.
A total of 32 first responders operated two boats, three ambulances, and a rescue truck throughout the successful drill, which lasted about two and a half hours.
South Branch Emergency Services serves the Town of Clinton, Clinton Township, Lebanon Borough, High Bridge Borough and portions of Franklin Township, Bethlehem Township, and Union Township.
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Caroline Fassett may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rich Maxwell | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
First Responder Hone their Skills with a Land/Water Rescue Drill
The training involved first responders rescuing victim actors in distress as well as victims of an overturned boat in the water.
Clinton NJ - On Monday April 5th just after 4pm, South Branch Emergency Services was dispatched to the Round Valley Recreational Area for the reported kayaker who had fallen from his vessel due to rough chop, and was unable to get back in his kayak. The caller was the kayaker himself who was able to dial 9-1-1, and advise he was in the water with a life jacket on. The dispatcher was able to use newer technology to pinpoint the callers location on the water and send that directly to the responders on scene with GPS coordinates.
Marine 365-2 with water rescue crew, a BLS and Chief responded to the call within 5 minutes, and had our first boat on the water within 12 minutes. After a quick search of the water, the overturned kayak was spotted and rescue began. When arriving at the side of the victim, 2 others were found in the water with an overturned canoe. These two good Samaritans had heard the first boater calling for help, and had come to his aid.
Unfortunately due to the conditions on the water, the canoe ended up taking on water and overturning as well, putting it's 2 occupants in the cold spring waters.
While Marine 365-2 made the rescue of the 3 stranded boaters, Marine 365-1 arrived with crew of 5 and headed out to assist. With all occupants out of the water, Marine 365-2 brought them to two waiting ambulances at the boat ramp and turned over care to BLS & ALS units. Marine 1 operated for 30 additional minutes retrieving both the canoe and kayak, along with personal items.
Also responding in addition to the 15 SBES members was the ALS unit EMS1 from Hunterdon Medical Center, Clinton Township Police, NJ State Park Police and NJ State Police Marine Unit
Units cleared the scene by 6:00pm.
EMS Captain James Race, Operations LT. Ryan Clancy, Rescue LT. Walter Dorf and Fire Fighter Bailey Pyle traveled to Hopatcong NJ on Sunday to complete their Ice Rescue Technician Level certification.
They original took Awareness and Operations level through the Hunterdon County Emergency Services at Round Valley Reservoir. The Technician level course was offered by Rescue Products International out of Denville, NJ. who bring instructors in from all over NJ and as far as Connecticut.
The 8 hour program included single rescuer rescues and multiple rescuer rescues. It also included the use of the rescue FAST board, a small 4 person boat, an inflatable water rescue craft, and a Marssars ice rescue sled.
The day finished up with the 35 plus students participating in the rescue of 5 victims in the water utilizing the equipment and techniques learned throughout the weekend.
Just after 10am, SBES was called to Round Valley for a report of possible victims in the water from by bystanders on the shoreline. 1st arriving units met with those bystanders and found an overturned boat about 500yds out with one to two people stranded on top of it.
SBES Water Rescue Team arrived with Marine 365 and 4 rescuers, who rushed to the aid of the victims. The Rescue Team found two adult males who had been in the water anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes and were exhibiting many signs of hypothermia. Crews were able to arrive, pull the victims out, and return in just under one minute, with the total rescue from shoreline to shoreline being just under 5 minutes.
Victims were carried from Marine 365 and transferred to BLS and ALS crews at the shore for treatment and prompt transport to the hospital for further evaluation and treatment.
The combined efforts and swift actions of the bystanders on shore, the BLS/ALS crews who treated the patients, and the SBES Water Rescue Team, truly made a difference in the outcome of today's rescue.
Earlier this week, SBES Water Rescue members were conducting a cold water / ice rescue training drill in the Town of Clinton, which all of today's rescuers had also participated in.
Photos by: Rich Maxwell
Last Monday, SBES members took the opportunity to practice some skills that we haven't been able to practice over the last couple of years. With this week's frigged temperatures, members could train on various ice rescue tactics at a local pond.
Rescuers trained on "go" operations with the squad's MARSAR Sled. The MARSAR sled is a multi-purpose ice rescue device. The device allows rescuers to remain out of the water and on top of the ice while affecting the rescue. This not only streamlines the rescue but makes the rescue process safer for all involved.
The rescuer's also practiced the use of aerial-based rescues. This is also another scenario that is not often practiced. We want to thank the Clinton Fire Department for assisting us in this drill. Ice conditions for the exercise were perfect.
Often when ice in our area occurs, we have relatively thick ice. The ice for the training was extremely thin, which made all involved work hard to get on top of the ice. At the time, the ice would break too fast for some members to get on top.
We want to remind all community members to never go out on the ice of our local rivers and ponds. Ice thickness can vary even with freezing temperatures. The ice may look thick, but looks can be deceiving.
Thank you to Rich Maxwell for the pictures!
Last evening 16 members from both Clinton and High Bridge stations, trained together on marine rescue and South Branch River familiarization.
Crews staffing both Marine 455-3 and Marine 145 traveled up river checking water levels and accessibility locations for rescue operations. While crews did find parts that the boats had to portaged, they were able to adapt and over come. Making simple solutions to get to their goal, crews were able to travel from the spill way of spruce run reservoir about a mile and a half up river just passed the route 31/Halstead Street intersection. Crews also trained on night navigation without the use of GPS systems and night swims.
Meanwhile, other members practiced there shore-based rescue skills such as using rope throw bags.
The drill concluded around 22:00 hours after some much needed cleaning.