Cisco Fire Department trains for swift water rescues

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CISCO, Texas (KTAB) – With the recent rain and flooding seen around the Big Country, over in Cisco the Fire Department wants to be ready in case of emergency by training for swift water rescues.

You hear it over and over, turn around don’t drown.

“Swift water can run anywhere from a mile to three miles per hour, even more and 500 pounds per square inch is the weight of water so that kind of gives you an idea of how fast it can move. It can move vehicles,” Cisco Fire Chief Walter Fairbanks said.

Like many rules, however, it isn’t always followed.  This is why the Fire Department is training for swift water rescues. Getting familiar with the throw bags, ropes and harnesses is something done annually.

“If you don’t practice it you forget it,” Chief Fairbanks said.

“You can never get too familier with the equipment so it’s a good thing to go over,” Cisco Fire Department Captain Nathaniel Bitterman said.

With the addition of their ladder truck the fire fighters have a new peice of equipment to learn.

“We simulated someone trapped in a raging river so to speak so we were able to manuver the ladder over them and lift them out of the river,” Chief Fairbanks said.

“Really our first time doing any sort of operational stuff as far as hook and harnesses and rescue equipment off the ladder truck,” Capt. Bitterman said.

As a department dependent on volunteers, any experience is crucial.

“We had a couple new volunteers who have never really done this kind of stuff before but they jumped right in.  You know in the real deal we’re counting on those volunteers to come up and support us as best they can so they jump in they do all the same training we do so it’s always good for them as well,” Capt. Bitterman said.

They are also teaching Cisco police officers, EMS and city employees how to throw bags in case of an emergency.

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