First Responders Train For Water Rescues

We've already seen the need for water rescues this summer along the Elkhorn and Platte rivers. Sunday night, another large-scale training exercise had first responders going through the motions.

A school bus crashes, and its passengers spill in the Missouri River near NP Dodge Park. 10 victims need to be pulled from the water.

It's the scenario that firefighters and police from Omaha and Waterloo had to deal with during "advanced swift water" training.

A massive coordination and communication effort begins to pinpoint and locate all survivors of the pretend crash scene. The Omaha Police helicopter searches from above.

"Able 1 really helped a lot because it has forward-looking infrared," said Chris Dubois with Rescue 3 International. "It was able to penetrate into the trees, see where the victims are the let these guys know where to look."

Two more "victims" are pulled from the far banks to safety.

"It was kind of scary because we saw them drive by and drive by, they didn't see us and we were like, 'oh,'" said victim volunteer Emily Durlin. "They found us eventually, they did a good job."

Durlin and Austin Alff volunteered. Durlin's an avid tuber on area rivers and knows what kind of problems responders face.

"Big effort with lots of agencies, working cooperatively and honestly they haven't done this a lot and did a great job for their first time out," Durlin said.

Now, responders will be more prepared for a real rescue and they'll train some instructors to be able to train even more agencies for these incidents.

Dubois says he plans to remain in town for a few days to help with that additional training.


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