Following a difficult situation last summer where it took multiple days to find the body of a 14-year old boy who drowned in the Old Man River, Lethbridge Fire and EMS says its committed to enhancing its training to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

The 23 members of the water rescue team have been training in the river for the past four days with the expert guidance of Andrea Zaferes, who’s an instructor from Lifeguard Systems based in New York.

“They are going to know how to get their boat in the water, they’re going to know what equipment they need, they’re going to know how to interview the witnesses and they have to work with law enforcement. Law enforcement has to let the [firefighters] do some of the interviewing because they have specialized training for water type of interviewing,” Zaferes told local media on Thursday (June 20).

“These guys are not going to compromise their safety. There’s never a time to compromise the life of a living person for a body.”

New diver, Adam Perrett, says it was challenging to get used to the obstacles that come with dark diving, but it has certainly instilled a sense of confidence in the water rescue team.

Now that’s we’ve done it repeatedly, I have the confidence that I could go out and dive anywhere now.”

Water Rescue Team Lead, Brendon Pyne, says this kind of training is a first for Lethbridge Fire and EMS, noting they’ve typically focused on still water diving.