That’s because they are firefighters. Each township has their own volunteer fire department who assist on all emergency calls. No money for wet or dry suits. We don’t even have fire hydrants. Tanker trucks carry water; when empty they go to the nearest lake for a refill. I think the county sheriff and DNR may be better equipped; most certainly the Michigan State Police dive team. At that time there were three boats and the USCG copter looking for someone close to the surface. Wind and waves forced them off.
Yes, they do appear to be firefighters. But they don’t appear to have any fires to fight nearby. I hate to be the one to play devil’s advocate, but I’m just so darned good at it so why not? In photos like this it’s always the things that aren’t obvious to most people that stand out for me.
Consider this: I’m the person who has been treading water without a PFD for so long I can just barely keep my mouth above water. The water is only a few degrees above freezing, and my muscles are just about to give up. I see a bright red boat in the distance! My saviours! They get to me just in time and reach out to grab my all-but-limp arm to pull me into the safety of the boat. But wait! I’m back in the water! NO! The one that was reaching out to me slipped and is in the water beside me gasping for air in the frigid water. My heart races as I will my arms to keep treading, but alas they just won’t move anymore. My head sinks below the surface and I hope that drowning is as peaceful as they say.
Ok, so that might be a little dramatic, but it serves to illustrate the point. If they can afford a boat and the fuel to go with it, they should have the proper gear to be out in the boat in the conditions where they use it. If my tax dollars were funding first responders and rescue personnel then I’d want them to be the best prepared to rescue me without botching the job. And even though they may be “volounteers”, the cost for stuff like this is still phenomenal. What about the cost of the lawsuit from the one that fell in the water, claiming unsafe working conditions because they did not have the proper equipment to remain reasonably safe while performing the duties expected of them?
I’m willing to bet that if the lake were iced over and they were sending guys out on the ice that they’d have “floater suits” on. I don’t buy the cost argument in this instance. I think it’s the same mentality of other boaters and paddlers - that they won’t end up in the water because they’re on/in the stable platform that is the boat.