DCFR undergoes swift water rescue training

Published 9:10 am Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Decatur County Fire and Rescue traveled to The Jones Center at Ichauway on June 24, to participate in regional swift water training.

DCFR is part of a regional team consisting of five counties who specialize in swift water life-saving techniques. While training, they were joined by Thomas County Fire and Rescue, Thomasville, Lowndes and Moultrie.

Assistant Fire Chief, Jamie Earp said during the training, team members practiced deployment, swimming and victim removal in swift water. They also reviewed training on how to rescue individuals from submerged vehicles in swift water.

As a region, DCFR has to have 16 hours of swift water training annually. However, DCFR also participates as a department in 16 hours of annual training, as part of their specialized dive team.

Earp explained that while the training is specifically for swift water, the team uses a variance of these skills every time they go out on the water for rescue, regardless if it’s swift water.

“The techniques are useful in and out of swift water,” he said.

Earp estimates they respond to approximately 20 water-related calls a year, so the training is absolutely necessary.

“The water at Ichauway is already swift-moving there, but it allows us to practice in a closer environment than what we would normally be in,” Earp said.

Ichauway is not the only property to offer their water for training.

Earp said once a year, Six Flags shuts down its rapids rides, allowing for swift water rescue teams across Georgia to come and train in their rapids.

“It’s a phenomenal asset to citizens and anyone who has to respond to water-related emergencies,” Earp said.

Earp explained that many people don’t realize DCFR travels with FEMA and often responds after a natural disaster to help retrieve people stranded from floods or hurricanes in swift water.

“We are proud to be able to provide this specialty resource to the citizens of our communities and beyond,” Earp concluded.

In closing, he wanted to thank Ichauway for allowing DCFR to use their landing to conduct the training.