Phoenix crews train and prepare for monsoon rescues

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Crews are doing some last-minute training before the monsoon hits in mid-June. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Crews are doing some last-minute training before the monsoon hits in mid-June. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Phoenix police and fire rescue teams perform about 100 rescues per year. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Phoenix police and fire rescue teams perform about 100 rescues per year. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
"We'll come overhead and do an air tactical recognizance report to the ground personnel on what we see," said Apolinar. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) "We'll come overhead and do an air tactical recognizance report to the ground personnel on what we see," said Apolinar. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Crews with emergency services around the Valley are getting ready for the monsoon season by undergoing training for severe weather.

"It's dangerous. It's risky but we train a lot," said Paul Apolinar, chief pilot with the Phoenix Police Department.

Phoenix police and fire rescue teams perform about 100 rescues per year. The predictability of each swift water rescue means training goes on all year.

"When that flood water comes, all of that debris can become a hazard to victims in the water as well as to us being rescuers in the water," said Capt. Bobby Dubow with the Phoenix Fire Department.

[RELATED: Sneak peek at monsoon forecast]

"The police and fire departments work together in a team effort on a variety of rescues in the water and on our mountains. They use five patrol helicopters and one twin-engine helicopter.

"It's a special-use helicopter. We partner with the fire department. They ride in the back and manage the hoist here," said Apolinar.

Crews are monitoring the weather conditions constantly as that is the biggest degree of danger for them when they fly. The pilot is the eyes for the ground crew.

"We'll come overhead and do an air tactical recognizance report to the ground personnel on what we see," said Apolinar.

Then a plan is made and the rescue begins. Crews go out on more rescues than they would like and have these words of advice for everything this monsoon season.

"If you see barricades, if you see water that looks like it's running fast, do not cross it. Wait for the water to go down," said Apolinar.

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