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Training day for Fresno Co water rescue volunteers

Saturday, June 16, 2012

As we head into a heat wave over the next few days, people around the Valley are looking to cool off.

While many head to valley waterways they're not always a safe choice, and so today the Fresno County Sheriff's Office held a training class for rescuers.

In this hot weather there's nothing quite like a good soak in some cold water but even though many of the area rivers look beautiful the waters can be deceiving.

A little bit of sweat, a chunk of good technique and a whole lot of preparation, that's what the Fresno County Sheriff's Office is hoping will keep Valley families safe throughout the summer.

"Most people like to go to the water for recreational purposes and when people are in a recreational mind set they are thinking of having fun and most people don't think about the dangers that are associated with it but anytime you get moving water it is a force that is really relentless it never lets up," Sgt. Kathy Curtice of the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said.

On Saturday Sgt. Kathy Curtice trained a group of deputies and volunteers on how to save those in fast-moving rivers.

It's all part of a certification class that takes place at least every three years.

"We train in a lot of different methods of getting out into the water. Sometimes if the water is deeper we are going to have to swim, if it's very rocky we might use different techniques more ropes," Sgt. Curtice said.

In shallow-water rescues, crews use each other for balance and stability, but rescuers say the best way to stay safe is to stay out of the fast moving current.

"It's really deceptive how powerful that water is and a child doesn't really have to go that far before they can get washed away and there are even county ordinances in place in Fresno County that prohibit it," Sgt. Curtice said.

Russ Richardson has volunteered with the search and rescue team for five years.

"I think it's important if people have certain skills they should try and use their skills to give back to the community many volunteers say they choose to spend their summer off-shore to make a difference," Richardson said.

"Not a lot of people do it, so the more people do it and the more people can train because not everyone can come out every single time. The more base of volunteers we have to pull from he more likely we are to make a successful rescue," Jonathan Rumsey said.

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fresno county, fresno county sheriff department, local, mariana jacob
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