Yakima Firefighters Go Through River Rescue Training - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Firefighters Go Through River Rescue Training

YAKIMA, Wa -  Yakima firefighters getting valuable river rescue training today.  This after several people have drowned over the summer months and a close call this past weekend.

River rescue training is no day at the beach for the Yakima Fire Department.  They take the training seriously. 

Russ Reser says the refresher course saves lives.  "It was a great feeling to bring the family to safety."

Reser helped rescue a family trapped on an island in the Yakima River last weekend.  Today, he and other firefighters are getting a refresher course on river rescue.  It's practice, but it's still dangerous. 

"Even though we're doing training, the river is dynamic. It's dangerous even to us," says Cory Simon, a Yakima Firefighter, "We need to be as professional as possible."

The five people who drowned this summer are the most since 2002, but still river rescue are not all that common.  Reser says that's exactly why they need to be prepared.

"Many different skills we have to call upon. We're constantly training for any situations that might arise."

The Yakima Sheriff's Office says of the five drowning deaths this summer; two were in the Klickitat River, one in the Yakima River and another in the Roza Canal.  There was also a drowning in a gravel pit pond in Wapato.