The Importance Of Swift Water Rescue Training

Tuesday, June 26th 2007, 8:52 pm
By: News On 6

Heavy rains are swamping the Sooner state, and there seems to be no end in sight. As the waters rise, so do the dangers. Tulsa fire crews have a motto, hope for the best and prepare for the worst. The News On 6’s Ashli Sims reports they say if the worst does strike, they're ready to rescue.

Captain Dannie Caldwell has been with the fire department for 31 years. He says he's feared for his life three times, all involved water.

“Moving water is very dangerous, one of the number one killers as far as weather goes,” Caldwell said.

The twin girls inside of a trapped car in Oklahoma City almost became a statistic, but thanks to some well-prepared and well-equipped firefighters the girls made out of their water-logged car alive.

"Our brothers in Oklahoma City were doing us proud, looks like they were doing an outstanding job,” said Caldwell.

Captain Caldwell’s job is to make sure Tulsa firefighters are equally prepared and ready to respond if the waters rise. He says TFD has about nine rescue boats in service throughout the city.

One of their latest tools is called a rapid deployment craft.

“Probably without a doubt the best water rescue craft I've seen in quite some time,” said Captain Caldwell.

The 15 and a half foot boat can be inflated and in the water in just two minutes. And that can be the difference between rescuing a victim and recovering their body.

"This boat, this water craft, responds directly to the victim and that's the key,” said Caldwell. “The quicker you can get to the victim, the quicker you can get that boat deployed, the lot better chance you have of that victim surviving."

Another important tool is a throwbag. It allows firefighters to reach a flooding victim, while remaining safe on dry land.

The firefighters are trained and ready to come to your aid, but the best way to stay safe is to stay away from danger.

"We will be there to get you out of trouble, but don't get yourself into trouble to begin with. Don't drive into water,” Caldwell said.

Captain Caldwell also warns people to stay away from drainage creeks. If we get heavy rain here, they fill up fast, and he says water can move four times faster in a drainage area than in an open water way.

Watch the video: Tulsa Fire Crews Prepare For Swift Water Rescues