Yakima water rescue training - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima water rescue training

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YAKIMA, WA - As the weather heats up, more of us will head outside to enjoy the weather, and maybe spend the day on the water. But that could put people in potentially dangerous situations.

Reporter Veronica Padilla got an up-close look at how officials across the region are getting ready for water rescues.

Yakima firefighters say the Yakima River that runs through town is pretty dangerous. Log jams are what get a lot of people in trouble. But even if that happens, the Technical Rescue Team is there to make sure whoever is in danger gets home safe.

"We have a jet boat and that's our primary means of doing rescue on the river, 'cause the jet boat can't stall out in too shallow water or else you'll suck up rock," said Lieutenant Joe Burbank with the Yakima Fire Department. "Where you get people that get stuck on a log jam or something we need a mechanism to be able to, from our jet boat, lower something down to rescue those people off that...so we have the raft as a platform so we can lower down into that and then rescue the people so they're in a safe environment versus just trying to throw them a rope."

The Yakima County Technical Rescue Team isn't just made up of Yakima firefighters. There's also members from Naches, The Yakima Training Center, Yakima Sheriff's Office, and even a training officer from West Benton. They spent the morning practicing for the real thing.

"It's better to work out your plan on how things work in training versus waiting until a call comes in," Lt. Burbank said.

Lt. Burbank estimates there are at least a dozen swift water rescue calls every year, and saving and not saving someone depends on the training level of the first responder. This is why the team trains as much as they can.

But if you or your family are out on the water, there's one thing you should always have, and it will save your life.

"People don't drown wearing life jackets. So if you're going to be in the water, have your life jackets with you."

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