Fairfield’s “Bravest” braved cold waters in Ash Creek off the South Benson Marina over the last week for training exercises in the Fire Department’s water rescue technician program.

The firefighters, protected against the cold by wetsuits, also used the department’s rapid-deployment vessel for the drills.

The program was developed by fire Lieuts. Bill Tuttle and Phil Higgins after they had trained for the skills in Maine, Vermont and Virginia.

The exercise nearly doubles the number of local fire personnel trained to the level of water rescue technician. “By adding these technicians we’ve greatly enhanced the safety of our citizens in this waterfront community,” Tuttle said in a statement from the Fire Department. “The fact that they gave their personal time to participate in this intensive program is another indication of their commitment to the Fairfield Fire Department and the people we protect.”

Among those participating in the training classes were Assistant Chief George Gomola, Lieuts. Pat Barry, Jeff Edmondson and Jay Swindon, and Firefighters Jordan Charney, Pete Krajscik, Finn MacDaniel, David Mitkwoski, Tom Rubenstein and Frank Zwierlein.