First Responders from Around the World Gather for Water Rescue Training in Butte County

OROVILLE -- First responders from all over the world gathered in Butte County to prepare for the worst.

“It’s really a good, ideal way for these guys to train,” Cal Fire spokesman Rick Carhart said. “They’re putting themselves out there in pretty dangerous situations and so you have to train that way.”

People as far as Norway came to Northern California for a three-day water rescue symposium along the Feather River to hone life-saving skills in challenging conditions.

“There’s power in the water. The force of the water is moving, so you have to learn how to do that in a safe way so you can go home and eat dinner with your family,” Norwegian trainee Lars Fossum said.

The area has seen a number of water rescues in recent weeks and Cal Fire says this training will help crews improve response times and make them more effective rescuers.

“We’ve been very busy this year in our county. I think we’re up to about 31 rescue calls so far this year throughout the winter and we still haven’t even gotten into the spring snowmelt and the summer season,” Cal Fire Battalion Chief Sean Norman said. “Hopefully that number doesn’t go up but we’re prepared if it does.”

But they’re also reminding the public to be mindful on the water and have safety plans in place for when the elements take a dangerous turn

“This is that year where you really have to pay attention and have a good plan for where you’re going and be prepared for what it is that you’re getting yourself into,” Norman said.

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