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River Rescue Training

Fresno firefighters practiced river rescue training on the Kings River Wednesday, to be ready for the long, hot summer ahead.
(Angela Greenwood Reporting)

Fresno firefighters are practicing their river rescue training, getting ready for a busy season as the weather warms up.

CBS47's Angela Greenwood was able to go along with Fresno's Urban Search and Rescue Team. 

About a dozen Fresno firefighters took part in the training, which is very important because as the weather heats up, people flock to area rivers and waterways, so firefighters need to be prepared for any emergency.

The focus on Wednesday was on boat rescues. "We can move really quick, we can navigate the shoreline really fast and navigate in tight spaces with these boats," said Koby Johns with the Fresno Fire Department. 

The group is responsible for about a dozen water rescues each year. 

One of the biggest challenges of river rescues is the fast moving water. "They're moving. We're moving. It's a dynamic environment, so it takes some coordination between the driver and the rescuer to pull that off," said Johns.

The team acted out a real life scenario, using Angela a victim in the water and then as a victim hanging onto a tree at the water's edge. Both forms of rescue operation take quick action and superior skill. 

If you do find yourself in a dangerous situation, where you're being swept away by swift water, there are some tips you can follow to safely maneuver yourself. "The best way you can do that is keep your feet out in front of you and basically float down the river," said Johns.

The training may look like fun, but for the firefighters, it's serious business. "When people call us it's because they have no one else to call and so we have to be able to get the job done. And so at that point, failure is not an option, so we have to be able to pull it off." 

These firefighters do training every month and their next training will be focused on swift-water rescues on the Kings River.
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Fresno, CA

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