Phoenix firefighters train for swift water rescues

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A woman rescued from a flooded car near Seventh Street and Cave Creek Road on Monday was safe because of a rescue technique that Phoenix firefighters practice every day.

This is a busy time of year for the Phoenix Fire Department's Technical Rescue Team and they put in a lot of training to keep everyone safe.

"Monsoon season, we're getting those storms in the afternoon, potential for flooded washes," said Capt. Bobby Dubnow. "We're out at the Salt River, the Lower Salt River, because this this our best opportunity to actually get in some moving water."

For the last six weeks, the Technical Rescue Team, or TRT, has been meeting at the Salt River to practice swift water techniques like how to maneuver a boat in the current and how to handle the water, starting with shallow water entry.

"It's just something that we have to practice continually to maintain our skills and proficiency," firefighter Bruce Campbell said.

One of the techniques they're brushing up on is how to throw a throw bag.

"Typically, the idea is you wait for your victim to be about even with you when they're floating down in the current and then you throw the bag out so that you either lay it right across their chest or somewhere within an arm’s reach," Dubnow explained.

The guys practice live bait rescues where the rescuer must swim out on a rope to get a person floating down the current.

"It kind of pushes our limits so we make sure that all of our safety precautions are in place, all of our systems are set up, we double, triple check everything we do," Campbell said.

The last exercise of the day, maybe the most challenging, is the shallow water crossing.

"We tell everybody please don't drive into these flooded washes, don't play in them, keep your kids out of them," Dubnow said. "It will keep us from having to get you, it exposes us to a lot of danger and it will keep you safe."


Technical Rescue Team ready for water rescues during monsoon