By Olivia Drake, HVFCo. Public Information Officer.
Five local fire departments participated in a water rescue and recovery drill May 22, 2019 at Millers Pond State Park. Nine individuals have drowned in the pond since 2000; the most recent was in June 2018. Crews from Middletown, Middletown South District, Haddam, Durham and Portland fire departments gathered at the park and responded to two mock scenarios on the pond. “When we’re called for a water rescue or recovery, it’s imperative to work quickly and diligently with our mutual aid departments to make this a smooth process,” said Haddam Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Sam Baber.
Millers Pond, which encompasses approximately 30 acres, is about 15-20 feet deep. Cold water springs and an underwater current can lead to difficult swimming conditions. While crews from Portland and Middletown’s Dive Teams practiced gearing up and conducting water searches, crews from Haddam and Durham transported divers via boat and all-terrain vehicles. “Even if it’s a recovery mission, the sooner we can locate the individual and bring peace to his or her family, the better,” Baber said.
Photos by Olivia Drake.