When firefighting is on the ground, shields help fight off waterborne particles that can create deadly smoke and can spread quickly to other vessels.
But shields also can create a lethal risk for crew members, including those on the fireboat.
A study published last year by the American Society of Civil Engineers found that firefighting equipment that was not designed for use on the riverfront was more likely to explode on a collision course with an approaching vessel.
Firefighting is not the only thing that could get you into trouble on the waters of Lake Michigan.
Other issues include not following safety guidelines, not wearing enough protective clothing, not keeping cool, not using the proper ventilation equipment, and not staying within the limits of your crew.
To learn more about how your department is handling waterborne hazards, visit the Coast Guard’s website.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.