Thursday, April 26th, 2018
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Dispatched for a report of a vessel adrift in the main channel between R22 and R24. Found a 2014 Supra with the boat cover in place, unoccupied and sitting against the rocks near R21A. Took the vess...
Sunday, April 22nd, 2018
Dispatched for a brush fire near Lands End Road, Moneta. Searched shoreline while repsonding land units searched area. Nothing found.
Tuesday, April 10th, 2018
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Members from Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire Rescue (SMLMVFR) responded to a rekindle of the Franklin County Oak Park Drive residential structure fire. SMLMVFR worked with units from Glade ...
Monday, April 9th, 2018
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Members from Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire Rescue (SMLMVFR) responded to a residential structure fire on Oak Park Drive in Franklin County. SMLMVFR established a backup water supply and w...
For the complete story visit WDBJ7.com or copy and paste this linkhttps://www.wdbj7.com/2021/12/15/construction-underway-sml-marina-firerescue-station/ By Brittany MorganPublished: Dec. 15, 2021 at 3:...
For the complete story visit wset.com or copy and paste this link into your browser https://wset.com/news/local/crews-thankful-for-safety-of-6-people-after-boat-catches-fire-sinks-on-smlCrews thankful...
For the complete story visit WDBJ7.com or copy and paste this link into your browser https://www.wdbj7.com/2021/03/14/smith-mountain-lake-marine-volunteer-fire-department-helps-save-boat-fire-from-spr...
News
Laker Weekly - Fourth of July weekend a busy time for marine fire department
Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

Fourth of July weekend a busy time for marine fire department

By Alissa Smith | The (Lynchburg) News & Advance Jul 5, 2017

Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire/Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Jason Halm pulled back on the throttle of the company fireboat as he neared a clear area of the lake.

The afternoon sun reflected off the water on July 1 as he checked the radio inside the ship’s cabin. As of 3 p.m., he had been on shift for nine hours.

Fourth of July weekend is one of the busiest times for the department, matched only by Labor Day and Memorial Day weekend, Halm said.

“It’s an ‘all hands on deck’ kind of thing,” he said. “Our incident volume sometimes doubles, if not triples.”

The department had already responded to four calls by 2 p.m., with an average of one to two calls per day on a normal weekend, he said.

“By the time we clock out at midnight tonight, we’ll probably have 10 or 15 total, whether it be calls or just to assist boaters,” he said.

Deputy Chief Ray Talley said the department has run as many as 17 calls in one day during a July 4th weekend.

“These were mostly boating incidents,” he said. “But that was during the years we had 500 calls a year.”

Nowadays, he said the department gets around 250 to 300 calls annually.

He paused and warned the crew to take a break and eat when they could.

“I’m telling you, they’re coming,” Talley said. “As it gets closer to [night], we’ll get busier.”

SMLMFR President Tommy Lovegrove said there were an excessive number of incidents as of the afternoon of July 1.

“We’ve had two patients evac’d out of here,” he said. “On Fourth of July weekend, this is typical. We gear up for it, we prep for it.”

To prep for the weekend and the subsequent increase in call volume, the normal 12 to 15 members scheduled for a weekend was bumped up to a total of 42, Halm said.

The department has a total of eight boats, with one on land in a trailer, which Lovegrove said is for fast response and is kept at Westlake.

The other seven are docked at Bridgewater Plaza, Gills Creek Marina, Indian Point Marina, Crazy Horse Marina, Virginia Dare Marina, Smith Mountain Dock and Lodge and the Waterwheel Marina.

All seven were on the water Fourth of July weekend.

“What we do is we map out the density of the accidents based on the previous two years, and then we can predict where we’re going to have accidents,” Lovegrove said. “We map them in July and August because that’s the highest density of accidents.”

That map of accidents also provides time intervals, Lovegrove said.

“So with standard linear progression models, we can tell ‘Okay, from this period on July [1], 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. we’re going to have four accidents between [channel markers] R26 and R30,’” he said.

“And so we put two boats out. Sure enough, that happened this year and we had instantaneous response time.”

According to data, the area between Hales Ford Bridge and channel marker R31 is the most accident-prone area, Lovegrove said.

“This is the happening spot,” Lovegrove said, explaining how the S-curve and shallow pockets play a role in the number of crashes.

The main cause is boater neglect, Lovegrove said.

Halm agreed and said that though Virginia requires drivers of personal watercraft and boats with motors more than 10 horsepower to take a boating safety course, a lot of people still don’t know basic rules.

More safety education and enforcement could help, Halm said.

Regardless, the department does what it can.

“That’s all you can do, is be ready with guys ready to roll when the pagers go off,” Lovegrove said.

Though the agency doesn’t enforce any policies, they do support ones like Operation Dry Water, an initiative by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries that ran from June 30 to July 2.

According to a VDGIF news release, Operation Dry Water means heightened enforcement of boating under the influence laws.

“If a patient’s blood alcohol level is excessive, we’re obviously treating that person, making sure they stay alive,” Lovegrove said. “We bring the paramedics to the scene, transport the patients to paramedics, give them liquids and get them rolling.”

Halm turned the 28-foot boat slowly back toward Bridgewater Marina, taking care to avoid another boat, when a handful of personal watercrafts darted in front of him.

“Yeah,” he said. “We’ll be seeing them later tonight.”.

Laker Weekly - Fourth of July weekend a busy time for marine fire department
Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire/Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Jason Halm (right) and Corey Canipe patrol the lake July 1.
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57 entries in the News
For the complete story visit WDBJ7.com or copy and paste this linkhttps://www.wdbj7.com/2021/12/15/construction-underway-sml-marina-firerescue-station/ By Brittany MorganPublished: Dec. 15, 2021 at 3:56 PM EST SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Va.
For the complete story visit wset.com or copy and paste this link into your browser https://wset.com/news/local/crews-thankful-for-safety-of-6-people-after-boat-catches-fire-sinks-on-smlCrews thankful for safety of 6 people after boat catches fire, sinks on SMLSMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Va.
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Wednesday, October 21st, 2020
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For the complete story visit WDBJ7 or copy and paste this link into your favorite browserhttps://www.wdbj7.com/video/2020/10/21/money-clip-returned/ A member of Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire Rescue emergency response dive team recovered a residents money clip that was accidently dropped ...
For the complete story visit WFXR or copy and paste this link into your browser https://www.virginiafirst.com/news/local-news/volunteers-making-sure-swimmers-and-boaters-are-safe-at-smith-mountain-lake/2032622566
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(Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia, June 8, 2018, UPDATED: June 11, 2018) Last fall Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire Rescue began offering lake residents a free check for stray voltage in and around their docks.
For the complete story visit wdbj7.com or copy and paste this link into your browser:http://www.wdbj7.com/content/news/Bedford-Regional-Water-Authority-issues-water-shortage-alert-467917773.html Bedford Regional Water Authority issues water shortage alertBy Tim Saunders | Posted: Wed 4:19 PM, Jan 03...
Stray voltage found around lake docksBy Jason Dunovant | jason.dunovant@ smithmountainlaker.com | 721-4675 (ext. 407) Oct 6, 2017Shock drowning is a real concern for Neil Harrington. As a diver with the Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire/Rescue Department, he makes sure to check for any poss...
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Fire department funding station through membershipBy Jason Dunovant | jason.dunovant@smithmountainlaker.com | 721-4675 (ext. 407) Sep 25, 2017The Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire/Rescue Department has kicked off a new fundraising campaign that will pay for a new firehouse with construction...
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Fourth of July weekend a busy time for marine fire departmentBy Alissa Smith | The (Lynchburg) News & Advance Jul 5, 2017Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire/Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Jason Halm pulled back on the throttle of the company fireboat as he neared a clear area of the lake.The...
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For the complete story visit wsls.com or copy and paste this link into your browser:http://wsls.com/2017/03/13/vehicle-drives-into-smith-mountain-lake/BEDFORD COUNTY (WSLS 10) – Bedford County first responders were dispatched to Smith Mountain Lake Monday after receiving a call about a car in ...
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57 entries in the News

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