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On the afternoon of Wednesday, July 12, the Sterling Heights Fire Department was called for the report of ducklings that had fallen into the sewer, a frequent call in spring and summer months.
Upon arrival of the Fire Department, Fire Chief Chris Martin reports two bystanders had already taken it upon themselves to remove the sewer cover and enter the storm drain in an attempt to rescue the ducklings. Sterling Heights Engine 2 first quickly saw to the removal of the people from the sewer, one of which needed assistance because of unique size of the sewer entrance and the fact that the person was struggling himself, Martin said.
Once the people were removed from the sewer, the crew of Engine 2 (Lt Rich Feeney, FF Stephen Cloos and FF Geoffrey Campau) safely removed the six ducklings and safely reunited them with their mother.
According to Martin, SHFD is frequently asked why duck-related calls are the responsibility of the Fire Department. “This situation solidifies why it is so important to call the Fire Department for these types of instances,” Martin said. “Had the Fire Department not responded quickly, there was a significant potential that there could have been a loss of human life. It cannot be emphasized enough that this is a very dangerous situation — and it is also illegal. Sewers and other underground areas are permit required confined spaces that can only be entered by highly trained individuals due to many possible hazards that can turn deadly without warning. “
According to the Public Works Director Michael Moore, a permit is required to enter confined space if it has the following three conditions: is large enough and so configured that a person can enter, has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous human occupancy. The structure that these individuals entered is a confined space that contains potential hazards that pose severe risk to human health.
Fire Departments across the nation are frequently called to fix problems at a variety of situations, Martin said. One reason for this is because Fire Departments are highly trained to mitigate situations in a safe manner.
“The Sterling Heights Fire Department always strives to provide great service and help anywhere we can,” Martin said. “We fully recognize also that if we do not respond to situations like this, that people will take matters into their own hands and cause the potential for the Fire Department to then risk lives to save lives of good intentioned people. It is always best to call the Fire Department and allow the situation to be handled safely. “
Anyone with further questions can contact Fire Chief Chris Martin at (586) 446-2951 or firstname.lastname@example.org.