Essential Firefighter Rescue Training for Saving Summertime Swimmers Developed by Action Training Systems

Quality training for our emergency responders is essential for saving troubled summertime swimmers, boaters and tubers as they hit America’s and Canada’s waterways to cool down in the summer heat. Action Training Systems is a multimedia development company and worldwide leader in innovative training systems for emergency responders. Firefighter training is a specialty of Action Training Systems and the company developed a 10-title Fire Service Rescue Series to meet the latest Operations Level standards in NFPA 1670, including Water & Ice Rescue.

In the coming weeks as schools let out across America and Canada and the temperatures rise, kids and families flock to the lakes, rivers, pools and beaches for classic summertime recreational activities and to seek refuge from the heat. With millions of individuals hitting the waterways, many of whom are inexperienced swimmers or boaters, stories of drownings and near drownings are common.

While lifeguards are extensively trained in water rescue techniques, this isn’t always the case with our emergency responders. On Memorial Day, a 57-year-old man (reportedly suicidal) drowned in San Francisco Bay when he waded into the water fully clothed and remained there for nearly an hour. According to the Oakland Tribune, rescue efforts were delayed because the local emergency responders were not trained in land-to-water rescue and they were not authorized to enter the water. A U.S. Coast Guard boat was dispatched, however it could not reach the man either because the water was too shallow for the boat. By the time a rescue helicopter arrived, the lifeless body of the man had already been pulled to shore by a swimmer in the area.

We hear of tragedies like this all too often, however it is nearly impossible to change the behavior of people entering the water. When someone gets in trouble, swift action by fire service rescue crews is essential to saving lives. In this case, the fire rescue policy has since been changed by the department, a budget has been established for water rescue training and 30 fire rescue personnel have volunteered to be trained in water rescue.

To address these training needs, Action Training Systems has developed a 10-title series for Fire Service Rescue. Along with the Water & Ice Rescue title, which includes training for swift water and surf rescue methods, the series covers such things as Rescue Apparatus & Equipment, Rope Rescue, Confined Space Rescue, Structural Collapse Rescue, Elevator Rescue and Wilderness Search & Rescue.

This series is available for classroom training in DVD format, as well as the interactive CBT (computer based training) format on the Iluminar Learning Management System (LMS). This software platform is highly regarded as the premier format for firefighter training in the classroom. It addresses different learning styles and has been reported to deliver up to 50% greater knowledge retention. The program may be customized for each unique fire department and has other advantages as well, such as solving scheduling problems, reducing overtime costs and documenting training and compliance reports through such things as the automatic tracking and recording of student test scores and training times.

To address the needs of the greater emergency responder community, Action Training Systems has also released Firefighter I and Firefighter II for the municipal firefighter training market, Industrial Fire Brigade series for the industrial firefighter training market and ATS is currently producing and developing an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) series to the NEMSES standard. Other titles cover specialty areas such as Vehicle Extrication and Hazmat.

As well as training for the frontline emergency responder, Action Training Systems is active in developing innovative training systems for the on site leaders, such as their Fire Officer I series that focuses on such things as Maximizing Team Performance, Incident Leadership, Team Health & Safety and Community Relations.

Action Training Systems produces training programs for emergency responders in both the private and public sector based on nationally accepted training standards and only uses real emergency responder personnel to ensure the integrity and authenticity of the skills demonstrated and captured on video. For more information, visit

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