Heroism: Coeur d’Alene Capt. Rich Halligan, Firefighter Blaine Porter

A water rescue in Idaho last year forced Coeur d'Alene Capt. Rich Halligan and Firefighter Blaine Porter to think outside the box in order to save the life of a 1-year-old girl trapped inside a submerged car.


"I'm very happy, don't get me wrong," Porter said. "I'm glad that the little girl is doing so well, but I wish we were able to do more to save the boy."

Halligan said that as with every death that occurs during a response, it's not something that firefighters should dwell on.

"You're happy you're able to save one," he said. "You just do your best and save the ones that work out and have to deal with the ones that don't.

"It sure would have been nice to save them both, but it wasn't in the cards."

Both men credited their training and planning with being able to successfully rescue the girl.

"Have a plan in case things go bad," Halligan said. "When we went back out we had the taglines. My big concern was that the SCBA is an entirely different set up to SCUBA. If you fill the mask with water you could drown.

"The first thing I thought is what do we do if we flood the mask. As the whole thing was evolving, I was thinking 'How do I get Blaine out of trouble if he gets in trouble.' "

Porter said that having an alternative plan is vital.

"Plan A, Plan B, Plan C. Always have a back up and have a back up to a back up. Always think ahead," he said. "Don't be afraid to think outside of the box, because it just might work."

Both men were quick to point out that despite all of the recognition they have recived for the rescue, it was a team effort.

"The big thing is that the whole team did it," Porter said. "We don't do anything solo. Everybody on that team really pulled together and did everything that needed to be done that day.