1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    South Carolina

    Default Merging Swiftwater Teams, any experiences?

    Hello All,

    Thanks again in advance for your assistance. Our local combination department operates a swiftwater rescue team. Our team started this service first, about ten years ago. Over the past year, three neighboring districts along the same river (with whom we have a good relationship with) has begun to invest in SW training and now considering equipment. It just makes sense for us to merge our swiftwater services, as this would increase personnel, allow joint training, prevent unnecessary equipment purchases, etc. I am planning a meeting to simply entertain the ideas of merging, and see if everyone would be on board to move further with this. Has anyone had similar positive/negative experiences? Any questions I should pose in the first meeting? Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    FiremanLyman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009


    Most of the career departments in our county participate in the county swiftwater team. We all have swiftwater or Tech Rescue teams organic to our departments but get together once a month and train as a county team also. Best advice is to standardize the way you do things. We started with 3 or 4 diffrent schools of swiftwater (TEEX, Rescue 1, RESET, Tarrent Co.) and have over time merged the best parts of each into a pretty functional system.

    The downside of merging swiftwater teams is that when an area is flooding it usually effects the whole region. A team from CITY A will not be free to go help with rescues in CITY B's jurisdiction because they are already tied up with their own flooding. This has to be addressed or there will be many hurt feeling the first time a flood hits and no one is able to aid other agencies.

    Upside is when the merged teams can pour on the manpower for a single missing person or random, non-flooding event. Having 4 or 5 departments trained rescuers showing up to find a missing child or single car into a river is a tremendous asset.
    Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
    USAR TF Rescue Specialist

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2013


    If an all out merger isn't feasible, maybe you could propose a regional operating plan. This could standardize equipment, training, tactics, communications, etc. It may not save as much money as a full merger but it would leave each department with autonomy. It would probably be easier from the legal, liability and budgeting standpoints.

    And no, I have no personal experience to offer.

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