Water Rescue Equipment Training Held

At the July 17 training session, members of the Panora Fire Department first tested the backboard on land, to become familiar with how the straps and inflatable packs work. The next step was for a small group of firefighters to work together to get a volunteer onto the backboard while treading water. Once secured to the floating backboard, the volunteer was pulled onto one of the Boulder Beach docks with the help of firemen in the water and LPA security and firemen on the dock. After successfully pulling the backboard with a volunteer onto the Boulder Beach dock a couple of times, the group moved into the main river channel. There they worked from an LPA Security boat to continue the training, again getting volunteers secured to the backboard and pulled into the boat.

By Susan Thompson 

On September 27, 2018, Kim Lubeck died while waterskiing on Lake Panorama. Lubeck had been diagnosed with Lyme disease, after being bitten by a deer tick in his Lake Panorama backyard earlier in the year. An autopsy stated his death was caused by a sudden cardiac event, with a likely link to Lyme disease.

Many people gave generous financial gifts in Lubeck’s memory. Phillip Lubeck lives and works in New Zealand. An avid scuba diver, he is part of that country’s Coast Guard water rescue team. After his father’s death, Phillip encouraged Maureen Lubeck to see if there was equipment that might help with Lake Panorama water rescues. 

LPA staff research came up with a floating backboard system, which the Lubeck family reviewed, then purchased with funds given in memory of Kim. 

Jerry Armstrong, LPA Security chief, showed it to members of the Panora Fire Department at their meeting May 6. A hands-on training session for the members of the fire department and the LPA staff was held at Lake Panorama’s Boulder Beach July 17. Phillip and Maureen Lubeck also were on hand to see the rescue equipment in action.

The backboard is made of heavy plastic that can be rolled up similar to a sleeping bag. The board includes inflatable packs on the sides and front. Once a person is secured to the backboard with a series of straps, the inflated packs keep the backboard afloat, plus ensure the person remains face-up in water. 

All needed equipment comes in a large orange bag. Besides water rescues, where the victim needs to be pulled from the water into a boat or onto a dock, the backboard also can be used to drag a victim across land. 

The Panora Fire Department has 24-hour access to LPA security boats, so if a kit is needed and LPA security officers haven’t yet arrived, the device still will be available to rescuers.