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Coast Guard Holds Search And Rescue Conference In Curtis Bay

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—As boating and swimming season approaches, those who keep the water safe are asking for help from their colleagues.

Weijia Jiang reports from the Coast Guard’s annual Search and Rescue Conference.

Rescuers from more than a dozen agencies came to Baltimore on Friday to learn how to work together to save lives quicker.

When 911 dispatchers take calls for help, the emergency is usually on land, but not always.

“Water calls are more difficult to process because they don’t have an address,” said Rhonda Polk.

Polk is a dispatcher for Harford County, one of 18 agencies represented Friday at the Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue Conference in Curtis Bay.

The goal? To get a better understanding of what Coast Guard officers need during a water rescue and what kind of vehicles they use.

“We need things like what’s going on in the environment, the weather, the condition of the boat, do they have life jackets on?” said Commander Brian Roche, U.S. Coast Guard, Baltimore sector.

Conference goers are not only checking out all the equipment, they’re attending several lectures to learn each other’s language.

“We’re learning to speak Coast Guard. Coast Guard is learning to speak fire department,” said Martin Chidsey, Harford County Rescue Team.

Chidsey,  a swift water diver, hopes the new connections will make a difference in saving lives as quickly as possible.

“The better we’re able to serve them, the safer we’re able to operate, the better the resolution for everybody,” Chidsey said.

This was the fourth Search and Rescue Conference for the Coast Guard. They expect to hold another one next year.

The Coast Guard urges anyone planning recreation around water to leave a trip plan with a family member so they know where to look for you if they need to.

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