Yakima Firefighters Hit The Water

<p>River Rescue Training</p>

River Rescue Training

It may not be your standard house-fire, but it is a day out on the water.

Yakima firefighters are sharpening their river rescue skills in an annual mandatory excercise - using ropes and weighted bags to reel victims in; victims who may not understand how swift and cruel the river can be.

"This is not a recreation to go play in the river, it's very swift water, it's cold water, and it has to be respected," said Don Wolterstorff, "This river needs to be respected for it's ability to kill you."

And Summer is in full swing.

Crews are expecting increased recreational swimming; and with that - added danger to those who underestimate the swift waters in our area.

Crews say at least one to two people die every year in the Naches and Yakima river from drowning.

That's why even though today might an excuse to get out on the water, they still take the training very seriously.

"[we're] Keeping our guys up skill level-wise to one, be able to make the rescues, and two, just to be able to see that a rescue may or may not be possible," said swiftwater rescue instructor Brian Robertson, "It's really important for our safety."

"We're not dealing with the emotions, the fact that a real victim is going to be exhausted by the time this event happens," said Wolterstorff.