ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany Firefighters started training today with their new rescue boat. It's inflatable, and will give their dive team more ability to go right to where they are needed during a rescue situation.
This new rescue boat can be much faster arriving in an emergency situation, and that could mean the difference in life or death.
The new rescue boat fits easily in Albany Fire Department's trailer. Two firefighters can easily carry the craft to the water.
Assistant Chief Rubin Jordan said "Around five minutes and we'll be able to deploy anywhere. Without using a boat ramp."
The boat inflates in just minutes using a standard air tank that firefighters use. The motor uses jet propulsion, not a traditional propeller so it can be used in very low water levels, even over rocks.
Firefighters went to the Flint River below the dam for their first test drive, and even with four firefighters on board they learned it was much faster in the water than they expected.
Battalion Chief Keith Ambrose said "Once you play with it, and learn it and get the weight distribution with your personnel, it will get up and scat pretty good up and down the river."
And it's not just the river. Officials plan to use this rescue boat anywhere in Southwest Georgia.
Jordan said "We are regional. So we can help anybody in our surrounding counties. So we are not only thinking about the river, but we are thinking about anywhere that we need to deploy a boat."
The new rescue boat cost $20,000. The training will continue on the new rescue boat this week, so all shifts and the dive team can get a chance to deploy and drive it.