Swift water rescue team now trained

Mainland Sand and Gravel in Abbotsford has formed its own team to aid in emergencies along the Fraser River.

(From left) Aaron Larocque

Mainland Sand and Gravel has formed and trained its own “swift water rescue team” to aid in emergencies along the Fraser River.

The company is located along the south shore of the river upstream from the Mission Bridge.

Dani Miller, safety and technical compliance manager, said the busy working port loads up to eight barges a day, which generates a lot of tug traffic and maintenance on and around the river.

The quarry also offers the only south shore boat launch from Chilliwack to the Mission Bridge.

The operation runs 24 hours a day.

Because of the work at hand and the distance away from help, Mainland decided to form its own rescue team composed of 10 trained responders.

The team spent two days in intense training, learning off-site from an ex-military diver, first responders and North Shore Search and Rescue experts in the pool, and then a day practising in full gear in the middle of the Fraser in September.

The team has access to a fast-response Zodiac, equipped with everything needed to get an injured or drowning person to shore.

Miller said the members are now ready to help in a river emergency, whether it is one of their own workers, contract tugs or fishermen in distress.