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Joplin Firefighters Practice Making Swift Water Rescues - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Firefighters Practice Making Swift Water Rescues

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

Special Operation Command Firefighters brush up their skills in the water, making shore based and swift water rescues.

"Part of what we're doing is getting that practice that we need so when the situation arises you know, we're familiar of what to do,” says Firefighter Christopher Johnson.

And with drownings up in Missouri this year the training is crucial to keeping the community safe.

"Complacency is what gets people into trouble. They go beyond what they would be able to do. Sometimes they get a little bit too tired.  They're not able to swim and then all of a sudden they get into trouble, and that's where we are with our rescues,” says Fire Training Chief Mark Cannon.

According to the Missouri Highway Patrol there have 37 drownings in the last year compared to 25 this time last year. With more than a month left of summer, officials urge swimmers words of caution, the water is deceiving. It's more dangerous than it looks."

"You're just out there having fun, you're in unfamiliar water but 'hey I can swim, no big deal.' Next thing you know you're in trouble. So definitely know the water that you're swimming in, be in there with a buddy, and try not to get into trouble,” says Cannon.

Besides throwing out lines to swimmers firefighters can set up a tension diagonal across the river as a last resort, to try and reach victims without a life vest. It’s also an easy way for firefighters caught up in the current to latch on and slide back to shore.

Johnson says “It's a team of resources. It's not just one guy going out there and throwing a rope. You got to have communication among your team and be able to take care of the situation."

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