Austin swift water rescue teams prepared for flooding after recent training

Emergency crews practicing swiftwater rescue training on Lake Austin. (KXAN Photo)
Emergency crews practicing swiftwater rescue training at Tom Miller Dam. (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — With the possibility of flash flooding Monday night, Austin-Travis County EMS crews are ready after they recently returned from a new round of swift water training

Because lakes in Central Texas rarely see swift water unless one of the dams has opened, crews who perform swift water rescues typically don’t get to train and practice their skills here. That’s why, last week, they went to Rock Island, Tennessee, to train in the Rocky River.

ATCEMS has eight boat operators that are available around the clock in case of severe weather and it’s required every three years for them to be re-certified. During their re-certification last week they went over skills like rescuing a person from fast moving water, recovering a boat if it happens to flip while they’re in the water and rescuing themselves if they happen to fall in while trying to save someone else. These skills are practiced in both day and nighttime.

An EMS captain says whenever our waterways get flooded they typically try to train, but that’s often when they are needed most.

“It allows us to replicate those times of flooding here when the waters are rushing through neighborhoods or rushing through our small creeks around the area as well,” says Cap. Darren Noak, ATCEMS.

ATCEMS has three dedicated rescue teams that are available 24/7.

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