Farmington firefighters conduct river rescue trainings

Posted at: 05/16/2013 9:52 PM
By: Ashley McElroy, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Farmington firefighters said the dam off of Penny Lane is one of the most dangerous spots of the Animas Valley River.

"The issue is that boaters can't see over the horizon line and they blindly drop in," said Jeremy Dugan, from the Farmington Fire Department.

The current acts like a washing machine and can spin someone continuously through the water, causing them to drown.

"When someone is in that type of water feature they have a tough time of getting out it can be really dangerous,” said Battalion Chief Nick Mrzlik.

Now that it's raft season out on the river, firefighters are on alert.

Today they completed swift water rescue training.

During the summer month the river level rises, making the water a lot faster and a lot more dangerous.

The team practices several types of rescues and techniques in case of an emergency, and they have to learn how to act quickly.

"Time is really of the essence when someone finds themselves out of a boat," said Dugan.

It only takes 4-7 minutes for someone to develop hypothermia, and even less time for someone to drown.

That's why wearing a lifejacket is important.

"Its like wearing a bicycle helmet you never plan on falling off your bike but you need the helmet on in order to prevent injury on case something bad happens," said Dugan.

But if something bad does happen, these guys say they're ready to jump in.