These boots were made for swimming
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These boots were made for swimming
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The Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Fire Department learned the sensation of working while waterlogged-- boots, breathing apparatuses, rescue coats, and all -- Friday at Zembiec Pool.

The firefighting crew received emergency training and instruction on how to respond to incidents in the water of swimming pools.

"Basically, what this does is to get them familiar with their gear in case they fall into the water," said JBM-HH FD Training Officer Anthony King. "It's done to show them they can save themselves and not drown or panic."

The morning exercise was called drown proofing training and was conducted and supervised by Maryland's Anne Arundel County Fire Department's Lt. Michael Mayo.

"They are taking it seriously, but this is a fun company-level exercise," Mayo said. "We have a lot of newer recruits, and that's who we mainly teach this to. The whole point of this training is to show that you are buoyant and how to upright yourself. It's all about water confidence."

During the survivor course, participating joint base fire fighters entered the water on three occasions to get acclimated to being in the water in full gear and to learn how to survive an accidental fall into a swimming pool.

"It was not that bad," firefighter Joe Barrow said of the training. "It was like going swimming fully clothed. Now the sensation comes when you get out of the water and all that extra gear makes it heavier."

According to Mayo, firefighting gear and packs can weight between 50- to 60-pounds when dry. While soaking wet, 10 to 15 pounds of weight can be added to the firefighter's load.

Pentagram Staff Writer Jim Dresbach can be reached at