Tulsa Firefighters Practice Water Rescue Techniques

Wednesday, July 22nd 2009, 5:37 pm
By: News On 6

Chris Howell, NewsOn6.com

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa firefighters are jumping into a pool at The University of Tulsa this summer for swift-water rescue training.

"Swift-water rescue is 400 times more dangerous than interior structural firefighting," said Captain Dannie Caldwell, a TFD training officer.  "It claims 1-2 percent of firefighter's deaths a year.  So we have to train for it and make sure they're up to speed and can get in and out of the water safely."

Captain Caldwell says that while Tulsa has many flood control channels for effectively moving excess rain water off the streets, people who drive into moving water can also be swept away presenting a dangerous scenario for rescuers. 

While TFD has all kinds of boats and equipment, it often comes down to a firefighter tied to a line to rescue stranded motorists from rising waters.

"Don't drive into moving water, don't get into moving water," said Captain Caldwell, "because it's very dangerous for our people to have to come and get them off their cars. Hopefully with the defensive swimming and the survival skills they can keep themselves alive number one, and then do what the citizens pay us to do, save their lives if need be."