Spokane Valley Firefighters train for water rescues

Spokane Valley Firefighters train for water rescues

Each and every on duty Spokane Valley Firefighter will be cycling through Swiftwater Rescue training over the next three days.

It’s an annual refresher for firefighters to get hands on practice rescuing people from the river.
Members from the department’s specialized water rescue team played victims while other firefighters practiced throwing ropes and trying to catch them and drag them. Rafts and kayaks were also placed along the river in case they missed.

With the high water volume and the river running at 19,000 cubic feet per second, the training is especially important. The water is also around 55 degrees, something that can make anybody stuck in the river expire that much faster.

“If you want to recreate on the river, its a great river,” said Spokane Valley Firefighter Public Information Officer Craig Warzon, “just make sure you’re safe.”

He says the best first step to staying safe if out on the river is to wear a life jacket. There are even free loaner jackets at some of the county put-ins he says.

If you don’t wear a life jacket, he says you may face a fine or wind up on the wrong end of a rescue.