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Local firefighters come together for rescue drills on Mercer Island
Firefighters from around the region are participating in rescue drills at the East Channel Bridge and the Mercer Island boat launch this week. The last day of training is Monday, Aug. 19.
Mercer Island fire personnel joined a host of fire departments in the East Metro Training Group — including Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond and Northshore — for the training, focusing on confined space and rope rescue scenarios that involved live patients.
The East Metro group consists of more than 500 firefighters. Seven days of training are held, with an estimated 80 to 90 firefighters per day, 30 apparatus and 9 units per session.
"The whole idea is that we're not working independently," said Les Kenworthy, Mercer Island battalion chief. "It makes sense that we train together."
The Mercer Island fire department schedules training throughout the year, and the next big event will be training for hazmat in September. Training for surface water rescue was held in the spring.
"Mercer Island has chosen to be a regional leader in surface water rescue because we are surrounded by water," Kenworthy said.
East Metro's drills have been conducted for the past three years.