Swift Water Training for Columbia Basin Dive Rescue on Yakima Ri - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Swift Water Training for Columbia Basin Dive Rescue on Yakima River

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WEST RICHLAND, WA- Columbia Basin Dive Rescue did their annual swift water training Saturday on the Yakima River to prepare for potential live saving situations.

"To me this is our most important training," said Troy McGregor, Operations Manager with Columbia Basin Dive Rescue.

Columbia Basin Dive Rescue's annual swift water training gives them a chance to practice what it is like to save someone in danger.  They did the training on the Yakima River just past Horn Rapids Park in West Richland.  The water there gives them a good example of what some of the situations would be like because the water moves fast.

"This is our most realistic scenario that we'd run into if we had to do an open-water rescue," said McGregor.

It also gave experienced and new volunteers the chance to get ready. 

"I feel awesome being able to help someone who's in danger in the water, which is why I joined, because I like helping people," said 13-year-old Bryce McGregor, a volunteer through Explorers.

Along with volunteers, Benton County Fire District 4 observed how the rescues were done. 

"It's been an eye-opener.  I didn't realize exactly how much they did until I had a chance to come out here and spend time with them. It's impressive considering they're a group of volunteers and the time they put forth to make sure they're doing things right," said Anthony Vining, firefighter paramedic.

Volunteers floated down the river while the team tried to save them.  They used throw bags to rescue people.  It is a bag that is thrown in the water and rope allows it to extend to the person who needs to be saved. That person will grab on to it and be rescued. 

"Fortunately we haven't had to, but it's always really good to be ready for it just in case," said McGregor.

The team also practiced zip lining across the water.  The ends of the rope are tied down and the team can hook up and jet through the waters.

It only takes seconds for someone to float down the waterway.  The water speeds are about ten miles per hour.

"After this training, things start to get a little busier," said McGregor.

They hope this year will not be as bad as last year, but they will continue to prepare for what may come.