Area emergency responders train for swift water rescues - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Area emergency responders train for swift water rescues

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Multiple area fire departments were at the Manchester White Water Park training for swift water rescues. The purpose is to prepare them with skills to quickly respond and save people trapped in fast-moving water.

In the next several weeks, more than 50 firefighters and E.M.T's from Grant County and Crawford County, Wisconsin will take part in the training.

"We've had some very serious flash flooding in southwestern Wisconsin over the years," said Steve Braun, Grant County Emergency Management Director. "Last year, we had a number of homes destroyed in Cassville. We had cars washed off the road. We really had more need to get swift water rescue training for fire and EMS departments."

The training was led by Pioneer Rescue & Outfitters based in Larsen, Wisconsin. It was somewhat technical with the use of equipment.

"We're starting out with using the power of the river to teach the students how to maneuver their bodies in case they get in trouble, if they get up off a boat or off a shore, so they can save themselves and use the power of the current to maneuver out to a victim," said Scott Rieckmann, lead instructor.

Jen Schmitz, volunteer firefighter for the Cassville Fire Department said she was inspired to get involved after witnessing the flooding in her hometown.

"The skills that they had at that hour of the night and what they gave back to our community, was amazing and to stand by as a bystander and not have the skills to help your own community, just felt awful." 

The departments typically train in Iron Falls, Michigan because they don't have a facility nearby with swift water conditions. This is their first year training in Manchester. 

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