Councilman Gets Wet, Impressed At Safety Fair

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RENO, NV - The city hosted a Safety Fair for its employees Wednesday, a learning experience for some, a chance for others to show what they do every day.

Visitors to the fair--all city employees and their families--came away with information which could help keep them safe in emergencies and they also learned what others are doing to help.

There was a K-9 demonstration. The consolidated bomb squad showed off its robots, as was the Hazmat team and Ham radio operators of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service.

There was a lot to be learned here today, but given the setting, it was no surprise a lot of the attention was on the water.

Even on a week day, a lot of people are drawn to the river and each year some of them get into trouble.

So, the drills they were performing today could save lives tomorrow.

Some in the audience tried their hand tossing throw bags containing rescue lines to team members caught in the current.

One city employee went a little further.

City Councilman Oscar Delgado accepted an invitation to get wet, donning a dry suit, and, in turn playing the role of victim....and rescuer.

"He did fantastic," says Capt. Bill Gentry. "He went through the whole spectrum of understanding what we do from the philosophy to the equipment we wear."

"I'll never look at a river the same way," says Delgado."I used to go in as a kid, a resident, a civilian, going in the river and enjoying it. But now I look at it as being dangerous."

Delgado says this sort of immersion experience reinforced his appreciation for the varied role the firefighters play.

"Coming out here with the firefighters that's reassurance that I know that our firefighters are up to the task to be able to help and be there for anybody in the community if there's an issue that takes place."

The fire department's WET team can expect, even in a low water year, to be called on 40 or more river rescues.

The 26 man team is scheduled to lose five specially trained members July 1 to layoffs.