LACONIA — The Bank of New Hampshire recently gave the Laconia Fire Department a donation of $500 towards the Life Saving Fund.
The Life Saving Fund was created in 2003 by the Laconia Fire Department to help fund the then newly formed water rescue team. After losing Mark Miller, a fellow fire fighter, during a practice drill in 2004 it was decided to complete his dream of obtaining a rescue boat, an endeavor funded entirely with donations.
"Bank of New Hampshire was one of the original businesses to help get the fund started and has been an annual supporter ever since," stated Laconia Fire Chief Ken Erickson. "As a result, we have the best equipped and trained water rescue team in the Lakes Region."
Three years ago the Laconia Fire Department underwent extensive swift water rescue training. River rescues are almost as common as lake rescues; however they require very different skills and equipment. Twenty-two of Laconia's firefighters are now certified to the Technician Level for swift water rescue and conducts refresher training every year. The team now has two rescue boats in Lake Winnipesaukee – one at the Weirs dock and one in Paugus Bay adjacent to Irwin Marine.
The response to a water rescue emergency whether in deep open water, swift moving water, or an ice covered lake, presents a situation that is very dangerous and of a highly technical nature. Continual training to maintain efficiency and safety for both the responders and victims is crucial, as is having adequate and proper equipment to do the job quickly and successfully. Thanks to corporate sponsors and local donations, the Laconia Fire Department has been able to build an effective and safe Water Rescue Team without any substantial cost to the taxpayers of Laconia. Through these donations the Laconia Fire Department will be able to continue to offer this vital, specialized service to the residents and visitors of the Lakes Region.