PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg Fire Department prepared itself for worst-case scenarios this week at Pittsburg State University.

From about the end of February through Thursday, personnel conducted water-rescue training exercises at the Weede Gymnasium pool. Firefighters participated in multiple exercises and water-rescue operations, to not only familiarize themselves with new rescue equipment, but also to prepare for real-life emergencies.

“It’s something that we’ve been expanding, and we were recently able to get some additional dry suits and a couple of rescue boats,” said Chief Mike Simons. “That’s the big thing that we were training, the fact that we got a couple of new pieces of equipment.”

With Spring Break underway, the department was able to work work with the gymnasium pool’s staff more efficiently.

Simons said the exercises provided a fruitful experience for the department.

“We have swiftwater technicians, but this equipment also works for ice recovery and rescue, as well as standing water settings,” he said. “We wanted to make sure every one of our personnel was trained in those types of tactics and how to do a swift rescue even in ice or stagnant water.”

This equipment is particularly tailored for Pittsburg, given how many small lakes the city has.

“Even at the university, there are areas where you can end up with problems in icy conditions,” Simons said. “We have to do it fast and it has to be a rapid response.”

 — Brandon Schmitz is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be reached at bschmitz@morningsun.net.