Recent Calls
Wed. Jul 19th 2017
Structure Fire - Mill Iron Road

Members from Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire Rescue responded to a support request from units working a structure f...

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Wed. Jul 19th 2017
Public Service Request - Hearing Aid Recovery

Fireboat 11-6 responded to a request from a visitor to Smith Mountan Lake to recover a very expensive hearing aid from the bo...

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Tue. Jul 18th 2017
Injury Accident Near C6

Company 11 was dispatched for an injury accident near C6.  A wake boarder was complaining about head pain after a fall w...

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News Headlines
Wed. Jan 3rd 2018
WDBJ7 - Bedford Regional Water Authority issues water shortage alert

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Fri. Oct 6th 2017
Laker Weekly - Stray voltage found around lake docks

Stray voltage found around lake docksBy Jason Dunovant | jason.dunovant@ | 721-4675 (ext. 407)  O...

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Mon. Sep 25th 2017
Laker Weekly - Fire department funding station through membership

Fire department funding station through membershipBy Jason Dunovant | | 721-4675 (ext. ...

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WSLS 10 - SML first responders use new tool to protect themselves from electric shock
Wed. Aug 9th 2017

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MONETA, Va. - First responders are warning about a big problem in the water that's completely invisible and could be deadly.

"You can't see... (but) as soon as you get in the water, you get hit with the electricity" SML Marine Volunteer Fire Rescue Firefighter Neil Harrington said.

That's what Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire Rescue crews say they're seeing at some docks around the lake.

"I'm sure there's a lot of facilities around the lake that were wired back 50 years ago or 30 years ago that probably need to upgrade their wiring," Harrington said.

Infrastructure deteriorates over time, exposing wires and potentially putting electric current into the water.

"Typically what you'll feel is a tingling sensation, which is the only warning that you get as you're approaching the source of the electricity. If you were to go in right at the source of electricity, you'll be electrocuted instantly," Harrington said.

That's why Harrington is using a new device, which detects electricity flowing through the water.

“Any amount of electricity is too much for me. I don't want to come into contact with electricity and the water," Harrington said.

He showed WSLS 10 how it works. As soon as the boat hits the water, the device instantly detects the current.

“It’s a life-or-death issue,” SML Marine Volunteer Fire Rescue President Tom Lovegrove said.

The Electric Shock Drowning Association reports 84 cases since 1986, but says many go unreported because people don't know about it.

“We do know electricity will kill you and we do know that we need to be conscious of that and when you're swimming in a pool or you're swimming in the lake, the last thing you're thinking about is something like that... we really don't want you to think about that and the only thing preventing you from thinking about that is monitoring," Lovegrove said.

To find out how you can protect your dock, contact the Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire Rescue Department or reach out to an electrician.

Copyright 2017 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.


The Smith Mountain Lake Marine Fire/Rescue is actively seeking new members.  Members can be firefighters, EMT's or simply someone that wants to help the  community.  If you feel that you have that calling to help others, that is the person we would like to speak with.  Please drop us a note on this page or submit an application at Bedford County Department of Fire and Rescue.


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Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire/Rescue
PO Box 899
Hardy, VA 24101
Non-Emergency: 540-721-5585
Emergency: 911
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Application to volunteer with Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire Rescue. This link takes you to the Bedford County Department of Fire & Rescue
On November 10, 2016 a tractor trailer veered off Route 122 into an unoccupied structure in Bedford County and burst into flames. After trying to suppress the blaze with water, responding units added F-500 at 2%. Watch the blaze initially flare then die...
Detect stray voltage in the water.