Training, courage of first responders a life saver

This week we reported that central Kenai Peninsula emergency response personnel took part in a specialized water rescue training session. Firefighters from Kenai and Nikiski fire departments and Central Emergency Services spent a weekend on the water, improving the skills necessary to saves lives in worst case scenarios.

We’re glad to see our first responders hone these skills, and we commend our local fire departments for making the training session happen. There is a lot of water on the Kenai Peninsula, from lakes to rivers to Cook Inlet. Those water bodies are seeing more and more use as fisheries and water sports boom in popularity, but agencies with specialized rescue capabilities, such as the Coast Guard, haven’t gotten any closer.

That situation was made clear during a recent rescue operation in which local responders saved two men from a sinking fishing vessel in thick fog and heavy wind and waves at the mouth of the Kenai River.

“We were on our own,” Kenai Fire Marshal Eric Wilcox told the Clarion. “Those people are lucky to be alive.”

Wilcox said it had been about 12 years since the Kenai Fire Department had been called on to perform a rescue in such extreme conditions. However, it seems that every summer, an emergency water response in some form is needed, whether it’s a boating accident on a lake, anglers or dipnetters in distress on the Kenai River, or commercial fishermen on Cook Inlet. There’s a lot that can go wrong, and conditions that are dangerous for boaters are just as dangerous for rescuers.

With such a high risk for disaster, it is reassuring to know that we have the capabilities and courage to respond right here at home.

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Thu, 01/19/2017 - 22:53

What others say: Obama’s legacy a mixed one

President Barack Obama leaves office Friday after eight years as the most consequential Democrat to occupy the White House since Lyndon Johnson. And unlike that Texan, whose presidency was born in tragedy and ended in failure, Obama will not have the ghost of the Vietnam War haunting his days and eating his conscience as LBJ did all the remaining days of his life.

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Op-ed: Trump won the news conference

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Good luck in Juneau

The 30th Alaska Legislature gavels in on Tuesday, and we’d like to take a moment to wish our Kenai Peninsula legislators good luck over the coming months in Juneau.

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Ready to weather the storm

If there’s a bright spot in the recent headlines regarding Alaska’s economy, it’s this: on the Kenai Peninsula, the bad news isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.

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