Members of the volunteer D.A.R.T. (Drowning Accident Rescue Team) and paid first responders gathered at San Juan Rapids for a rare three-day flood rescue certification course.
The course includes online, classroom, and field instruction taught by Specialized Rescue instructors. They learn topics such as water hydrology, safety, line launching, boat operations, rope techniques, etc. Once participants are finished, they will be certified as Floodwater Rescue Technicians for three years.
They started training before the summer months to prepare themselves and the public about safety precautions, such as wearing life vests and staying hydrated.
“This time of year, the water is still cold, but it is warm enough for people to start venturing into the water,” Richard Carvalho, Specialized Rescue instructor, said. “And as we’ve seen in the last couple of days, probably 90% of the people we come past, no PFDs (personal floatation devices), and consuming alcoholic beverages.”
DART member Kelly McFarlane added, “We’re overdoing the training so that we are prepared. So when something big happens, we are ready for it.”