WILMINGTON – Officials from local fire departments, rescue agencies and other Chicago-area departments have been participating in rescue and recovery training exercises at the Wilmington Dam.
Multiple people have died near the Wilmington Dam, but emergency response officials hope that advancements in technology will help prevent future fatalities.
More than 200 officials are expected to participate in training sessions, and several participated Friday and Saturday, according to a news release from organizers.
One of the new pieces of rescue technology on display was an inflatable and “extremely durable” rescue craft designed and manufactured by Creature Craft of Grand Junction, Colorado, according to the release.
The designer and owner of the Creature Craft, Darren Vancil, specifically designed it for “low head dams,” also known as run-of-river dams, such as the Wilmington Dam.
Low-head dams pose a dangerous environment to swimmers, boaters or rescuers because of their ability to create a recirculating current, large hydraulic forces and other hazardous conditions.
“I designed the Waterwog with
a seat belt and roll cage system
to greatly reduce a swim during
rescue operations,” Vancil said in
the news release.
The Creature Craft has been featured on The Weather Channel and PBS for its performance and versatility in different water environments.
Officials from Troy, Oswego, Minooka, Channahon, Plainfield, Naperville, Mokena, Morris, Orland Park, St. Charles, the Bristol Kendall and Elwood fire protection districts participated in the sessions, the release said.