Tulsa Firefighters Train For Water Rescues

Wednesday, May 2nd 2018, 10:00 pm
By: Ashley Izbicki

The coming storms are going to bring a lot of rain with them and that means more people getting trapped in floodwaters.

Tulsa firefighters are making sure they’re ready for those rescues when they’re needed.

Crews are making sure their boats and equipment are ready to go.

On average, they’re deployed to about 50 water rescues a year, and the weather is a big factor.

“Working in swift water with a boat is a lot different than working on the lake or flat, calm water,” said Captain Terry Sivadon.  “The boat handles different and everyone has a job to do.”

The Tulsa Fire Department has six boats in service at all times ready for rescue.

“Obviously, this is when we get a lot of rainfall,” stated Captain Matt Bell.  “People get in dangerous situations pretty quick when they try to play in flood water.”

The water rescue team hit the Arkansas River on Wednesday, practicing maneuvers around the rapid currents.

“It’s a good opportunity for them to get in the eddy and practice going upstream and downstream into swift water,” said Bell.

Each firefighter has a unique job and it takes a lot of coordination.

“We have water rescues come in all over the city.  Mingo Creek, we’ll get kids playing in it during this time of year.  It’s why we train,” declared Bell.

Tulsa firefighters say they are expecting to deploy to more water rescues when the Gathering Place opens, so they’re also working on pre-planning how they would respond to different emergencies there.