Collinsville Canoe & Kayak Donates River Rescue Equipment to Canton Volunteer Fire & EMS

By | November 19, 2018

Collinsville Canoe & Kayak Donates River Rescue Equipment to Canton Volunteer Fire & EMS: Rapid Response River Team Formed to Enhance Water Rescue Resources

Collinsville, CT November, 2018…. Town of Canton Volunteer Fire & EMS Department recently

received an unexpected donation of kayaks and gear from Collinsville Canoe & Kayak.

The donation, worth over $2,500.00, includes: two, 2018 Dagger Roam 11.5 ft. kayaks; two Aqua-Bound

Sting Ray aluminum paddles; and two NRS Rapid Rescuer personal floatation devices.

Department Chief Wayne Goeben: “This is a phenomenal donation, which will be a tremendous

asset to the Department. The mission for these kayaks is different – it’s not necessarily only for

patient removal. These kayaks will also greatly facilitate our ability to get emergency personal to

a patient(s), quickly and safely.”

The Back Story

In July, Town agencies implemented a numbered River Signage initiative; from New Hartford to the

Satan’s  Kingdom river-ride takeout on Route 44 in Canton. The goal of this initiative, which

posts bold faced numbered signs along the riverbank, was to improve communication and efficiency

along the Farmington  River for emergency personnel.

Preliminary experience, over the summer and fall, indicates that the River Signage program has

already proven valuable in  the Department’s ability to respond in a more informed manner, to


Deputy Chief of Training Bruce Lockwood: “Knowing the river and using the Signposts to identify

where patients are, improves our ability to accurately and quickly report back to the Incident

Commander. This, ultimately, makes patient extrication safer and more effective vis a vis the use

of technical apparatus, and other resources, working together at the extrication point. “

Chief Goeben: “An Incident Commander’s greatest asset is knowledge. The more variables we

know; the better plan of rescue we can develop; the faster emergency personnel can get to

our patient. And, the quicker they can get accurate information and updates back to

the Incident Commander, who can then reformulate the plan of rescue.”

To further enhance the Department’s ability to respond to river rescues, it recently created a

Rapid Response River Team.

The mission of the Rapid Response River Team is to have fire and EMS personnel in the water,

where they can either: perform triage, which will determine if the patient is stable and whether

there is time to set up a variety of different rescue operations; or, if the patient is unstable with

medical and safety issues that must be addressed immediately.

The Department’s plan was to purchase kayaks for the Team, to augment its current water

rescue apparatus, which includes: Marine 1, an inflatable boat; an ATV and the new River


 Deputy Chief Lockwood: “We worked with Collinsville Canoe & Kayakto determine the

appropriate kayaks and equipment needed to support the Team’s work.  The plan was to

purchase four complete set ups: kayaks, paddles and personal floatation devices.  Addition

equipment: four radio bags and four safety helmets, rounded out the purchase. The total cost

was just over $5,000.00, and was to be paid out of the Department’s Donation Account, versus its

Town operating budget. The Donation Account is funded by individual donors, Ben & Jerry’s

Free Cone Days and Dish ‘n Dat’s Tip a Volunteer Firefighter/EMT events.

Then, came the surprise donation.

After providing a generous discount for two of the complete set ups and the additional

equipment, Collinsville Canoe & Kayak donated the other two complete set ups.

Co-Owner Collinsville Canoe & Kayak, Jon Warner: “We’ve been part of the Collinsville, Canton

and Farmington Valley communities for nearly 30 years. We’re always looking to see how to

give just a little more back to our neighbors. When the chance to assist the Volunteer Fire &

EMS Department, to enhance their water rescue capability, came to our attention, we knew this

was a great opportunity to support their work.”

The Dagger Roam kayaks provide extra stability, with a thicker body that is designed for rough

wear.  Their design also makes them easier to reach a patient, as the emergency responder sits

on top of the kayak.  In addition, they offer greater drainage capacity, and are less prone to being

pinned against rocks and other river obstacles.

Next Steps

The Department has nearly a dozen fire and EMS members who are interested in taking on the

additional training and duties of the Rapid Response River Team. The Team plans to begin basic

paddle training in November, with more robust skills programming in the spring and early summer

of 2019. The  plan is to have the Team deployable by early summer, 2019.

Jon Warner: “Our business model has always centered around the importance of the river in

Collinsville; for its natural beauty, recreation and our ability to access the diversity of the river

to get someone out onto the water to enjoy it. And now, we are proud to support Canton’s

volunteer fire and EMS crews, when they respond to someone who needs help on the river.”