On Friday, members of the Gauley Bridge Fire Department were given a generous donation from Brookfield Renewable Energy Group. The department received a newly acquired river rescue craft, as well as other rescue safety equipment.
Captain of Gauley Bridge Fire Department, Phillip Fout told us, “The equipment that we have was pretty outdated, it is actually over thirty years old. We knew it need to be replaced, but we really didn’t have the funding to replace it, just with all the other costs that we have associated with running the department.” That is when Brookfield Renewable decided to step in and partner with Gauley Bridge Fire Department. Director of Operations at Brookfield Renewable, John McVeigh told us, “We believe in something we call social licenses to operate. So, we are good storage to the environment, we also believe in public safety and investing in our communities. So, it was a really good chance for us to do a couple of things both, bolster public safety with the rescue aspect. Also, to invest in the community so it’s really a perfect fit for us.”
Fire officials at Gauley Bridge say they have an average of five rescues a year. Many of them being swimming, kayaking and even fishing. One fisherman says he comes to Gauley Bridge often to fish and now feels relieved knowing that the Fire Department is newly prepared. Fisherman Jackie McDaniel said, “I have a boat and I’m in the Ohio river a lot. It is really nice to know that there is somebody there in case the boat breaks down or whatever it may be.”
The river rescue raft is a 14 inch. inflatable boat and holds up to eight people or 2,600 pounds. Besides, the river craft, other equipment was included as well. Such as, survival water rescue dry suits, water rescue vest, helmets, boots, strobe lights, dive rescue knives, and rope rescue throw bags.