Julie makes it a first for Foyle Search and Rescue!

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A Foyle Search and Rescue volunteer says she’s delighted to have qualified as the charity’s first ever female swiftwater rescue technician.

Julie Devlin fought her way through the specialised flood rescue course and believes she has her supportive colleagues at Foyle Search and Rescue to thank for getting her through the tough training.

“It was hard work and it isn’t an easy course. There were a couple of times where I was sitting at the edge of the water and I didn’t think I’d be able to go back in but the other Foyle Search and Rescue volunteers were amazing. They really kept me going and made me feel that I could do it and I’m really glad now that I’ve achieved it.”

The course which Julie completed provides her with the knowledge and skills to undertake bank based and shallow water rescues at water incidents, including floods and swiftwater incidents.

“What this course means is that if there was a situation where the Foyle was to burst its banks I’d be qualified to enter the water in that scenario, I can now enter fast flowing water in a rescue situation and I feel more qualified as a volunteer because of it,” she says.

Strabane woman Julie first became a volunteer with the charity in 2011.

“I’d been a member of the Diving Club in Strabane and I thought I could maybe transfer those skills over. I wanted to volunteer and I was aware of the great work Foyle Search and Rescue did. I’ve always had a keen interest in the water. I think that’s because, growing up in Strabane we either had to play on the street or go to the swimming pool! I’m glad I got in touch with Foyle Search and Rescue and would recommend it to anyone looking to volunteer. The team there are amazing.”

Foyle Search and Rescue have 19 Swiftwater qualified volunteers, 12 technicians and seven flood responders.