Firefighters train for swift water rescues

Training for floodwater rescues held in Van Buren

VAN BUREN, Mo. (KFVS) - With floodwater rescues connected to widespread flooding, more first responders are going through swift water rescue training.

“The need for water rescue is greater now than ever before," said Captain Rob Grief, training instructor with Jackson Fire Rescue. “These skills will help us through any water event, whether it’s a still water or a swift water emergency.”

Nineteen firefighters, most from around southeast Missouri, spent 40 hours day and night training on the Current River at Ozark Riverfront Campground.

(Photo: Caleb Callahan)
(Photo: Caleb Callahan)

Grief told Heartland News Reporter, Isabelle Hanson, the only way to know just how difficult it is to swim in swift water is to try it herself.

“Don’t ever underestimate the water, because although as we can see over here it looks really nice and calm, it’s really powerful,” said Stetson Proffer, a firefighter from Jackson Fire Rescue participating in the training.

Proffer already put his new skills to the test, when a woman got caught in the current during the storm while the firefighters were practicing drills.

Grief said one bad decision around floodwaters can put a driver at risk.

“So, when they start joyriding and things go wrong, they call us and we go out and make the rescues,” said Grief. “The skills that they’re developing this week will be the skills that will save lives tomorrow.”

The firefighters earned their swift water rescue, technician level, certification.

Copyright 2019 KFVS. All rights reserved.