Download 2010 Recipient List

The Higgins & Langley Memorial and Education Fund is proud to
announce the 2010 Higgins & Langley Memorial Awards in Swiftwater Rescue, which recognize
excellence in the dangerous technical rescue discipline of swiftwater and flood rescue.

The awards were presented on Friday, May 14, 2010, at 7:30 p.m., at the annual National Association for
Search and Rescue (NASAR) conference at Harrah’s Casino Resort Tunica, Mississippi ~ Mid-South
Convention Center (Tunica, MS: 866-635-7095; 877-893-0702).

2010 Higgins & Langley Memorial Awards

Team Incident Award

Miles City Fire Department, Miles City, MT
On March 4th, 2009, the Miles City Fire Department responded to a call about a car in the frozen
Tongue River, only to find a truck pinned against an ice floe. Backed by units of the department
FF/EMT Branden Stevens, who had recently graduated from a swiftwater rescue course, along
with FF Tim McGlothlin, successfully rescued the truck’s driver from the ice-choked river.
Potomac River Rescue Association (US Park Police, OWL Volunteer Fire Dept, Fairfax County Fire
Dept. Swift Water Rescue Team, Fairfax County Police Dept. Aviation Division)

On May 31, 2009, at approximately 12:45 PM, Fire and Rescue Units from the Occoquan-
Woodbridge-Lorton (OWL) Volunteer Fire Department responded to the Occoquan Reservoir
Dam for a water rescue. Two fishermen were perilously stranded at the top of a seventy-two foot
dam after their boat had been swept over it. OWL VFD rescue boats deployed on the reservoir 100
yards from the lip of the dam, while Fairfax County Fire Department’s (FCFD) Swift Water
Rescue Team, Fairfax County Police Department’s Aviation Division (Fairfax 1) and the United
States Park Police Department’s Aviation Unit (Eagle 1) responded. FCFD’s Swift Water Rescue
Team set up below the dam while Fairfax 1 lowered PFDs to the fishermen, then towed one victim
to waiting boats, while Eagle 1 rescued the other with a Billy Pugh net.

Individual Incident Award

Rodney O. Seals, Pennington County Water Rescue Team
On May 24th, 2009, a slow-moving thunderstorm flooded Rapid Creek, a watercourse near Rapid
City, SD. Three adolescent boys became trapped by the rising water, one of them clinging to a tree
branch in the current. Rodney Seals, who had just returned from a swiftwater rescue technician
course, was the only trained and equipped responder available in the area. Seals was instrumental
in rescuing not only the three trapped boys, but also in assisting six rescuers back from an island
where they had become marooned during a rescue attempt.

Program Development

Clackamas County SWIFT Team
Clackamas County SWIFT Team is drawn from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and
Clackamas County Fire, a unique collaboration between fire and police agencies. It is a FEMA
Type 1 (14 member) Swiftwater and Floodwater Rescue Team, which responds both in and out of
Oregon through the Federal EMAC program, and is the first team of its type in the state. All
members are currently training to meet qualifications for a Type 1 designation, including
qualification as swiftwater rescue technician, rescue specialist, rescue boat operator, EMT and
animal rescue technician, as well as additional training in helicopter and flood operations.

American Medical Response NW River Rescue Team
American Medical Response (AMR) created the Oregon River Safety Program and developed a
river rescue team. Prior to its formation in 1999 an average of two people drowned each year in
the Sandy River at Glenn Otto Park in Troutdale. AMRs River Rescue Team endeavored to
prevent drowning deaths by providing lifeguard services and public education. In 2002 it
expanded to a second site on the Clackamas River near Gladstone, Oregon. No swimmers have
drowned at either park in the years that AMRs River Rescue life guards have been on duty. Each
spring AMR hires a team of full and part-time Oregon state-certified paramedics, emergency
medical technicians, and first responders who must first pass a rigorous swim fitness test. Team
members are then trained to conduct surface rescues, perform hazard mitigation, and provide
public education on water safety. In 2009 AMR celebrated the completion of its eleventh season.

Maryland Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (MDHART)
Maryland Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team consists of the Baltimore County Police Department
Aviation Division, Baltimore County Fire Department Special Operations Division and the
Maryland Army National Guard (Co. C, 2nd Bn., 224th Aviation Regiment). MDHART training
started with pilot extrication drills, equipment loading, victim capture devices, dunker training,
and swim requirements, then progressed to airborne hoist drills beginning with empty field
insertions/extractions and then moved to aircraft to roof drills, aircraft to trees, aircraft to drill
tower and aircraft to car exercises. After a final swim test and dunker training in 2007 personnel
conducted in-water and short haul system training. It took approximately 2 years of planning and
training before the MDHART became fully operational. Training continues with quarterly aviation
training with the MDARNG as well as annual re-certifications on the dunker, HEEDS, victim
contact and device drills.

Special Commendation

Lisa Stuart – Safe-Tay Project (Scotland)
Lisa Stuart began the Safe-Tay project following the 2006 drowning death of her brother, Graham
Motion, in the Tay River in Perth, Scotland. Motion’s death was compounded by the lack of
qualified river rescue personnel. Stuart launched the Safe-Tay charity to improve river rescue
capability, raise awareness of the hazards associated with water, and to work with local fire &
rescue services, police, media and government agencies to actively promote water safety within
the Tayside area, including poster campaigns and community events. They have also raised funds
for the fitting of alarms linked to the city’s lifebelt stations. In the event of a lifebelt being
removed from its station, an alarm will sound and the CCTV camera linked to the system will be
activated, enabling emergency crews to locate a possible river rescue incident faster, and also
preventing the malicious use of lifesaving equipment. Stuart, who is a civilian and director of the
Safe-Tay charity, also completed an operations-level swifwater rescue course to gain a better
understanding of the hazards involved for crews responding river rescue incidents.

Outstanding Achievement

US Coast Guard – Red River Flood Response
In late March and early April 2009, the Red River crested at record levels in the area of Fargo and
Grand Forks, ND, placing tens of thousands of citizens at risk. The Coast Guard began mobilizing
members from units nationwide, and their aircraft, airboats and rescue crews assisted local
agencies in North Dakota during the worst flooding yet recorded. Aircrews navigated across
nearly 600 miles of treacherous upper Midwest territory with 60 knot winds, significant turbulence
and blowing snow showers to reach Fargo, while boat crews experienced blinding snow storms,
freezing temperatures and dangerous patches of ice, forcing them to make daily repairs to their
airboats. Their combined efforts, however, resulted in 103 lives saved and provided assistance to
over 7,000 people. Through close coordination with Sector Upper Mississippi River in St. Louis
and liaisons from other Coast Guard units, as well as other county and local emergency operations
centers, the Coast Guard took the lead for search and rescue operations and accounted for over 75
percent of all lives saved by the interagency response.