BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi firefighters receive two to three calls a month for emergencies on the water. Sometimes it's a medical emergency, and the firefighters are the first on the scene.
To mimic an unconscious victim, firefighters threw a dummy in the water. Firefighters jump into the water, put the victim on a floating board and swim the injured person back to the boat for treatment.
"You don't know the depth of the water. A lot of time it's windy, current is real bad. You are always fighting that. Visibility is terrible if you are trying to get underwater. It's just a whole different ball game," Biloxi Capt. David Williams said.
"It's a little bit tougher," Firefighter David LeMasters said. "People that are in the water in trouble are a little more panicky than on land, because it's unfamiliar and they are in distress usually.
Another scenario firefighters must be prepared for is responding to something on fire in the water. The firefighters take turns using the water pump on board their boat to practice putting out a fire.
"One of our crews will actually come to the harbor, load a boat and we will respond to the small craft harbor or if it's in the middle of the water, we are going to respond," Williams said.
It's important the firefighters practice these skills on the water, because there are some different challenges they face on a boat.
"The stream from the actual appliance (water pump) wants to push the boat in the opposite direction, so the captain has to compensate by steering the motors to take up the slack," LeMasters said.
The hands on training firefighters are getting this week gives them the knowledge to overcome all obstacles they may face on the water.
"Biloxi being a peninsula surrounded by water," Williams said. "It's not if it's going to happen, it's when. We try to stay on top of our training so when an accident or a water call does come in, we are ready to go."