Mystic Firefighters Gain U.S. Coast Guard Certification

The Mystic Fire Department on Tuesday became the first agency in the region to have its members achieve U.S. Coast Guard certification in water search and rescue, reports theday.com.

“Why wait for a tragedy to happen before we come up with best practices? We’ve turned lessons learned into lessons applied. Our goal is zero lives lost,” U.S. Coast Guard Captain Ed Cubanski said.

Cubanski said the training completed by the firefighters creates another asset for the Coast Guard to call on in the event of a maritime emergency — such as a boat in distress.

Cubanski said Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound created this first-of-its-kind certification program in the country to ensure “everyone is using the same playbook.” The program will eventually include agencies across the coasts of Connecticut and Long Island that can act in unison with the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard has already trained numerous Long Island-based agencies, Cubanski said.

The training is an outgrowth of partnerships built through the New London Marine Group, which meets monthly to tackle larger regional maritime issues.

Not only are the firefighters now trained in proper search patterns and risk management techniques, but “We can communicate with the Coast Guard and know exactly what they’re talking about,” said Anthony Manfredi Jr., Mystic deputy fire chief.

The U.S. Coast Guard is in charge of all maritime search-and-rescue activities. The Mystic Fire Department operates a 32-foot MetalCraft firefighting boat, which also has hazmat and search-and-rescue capabilities.

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