Raleigh firefighters use Neuse River to practice water rescues

DeJuan Hoggard Image
Thursday, August 30, 2018

During Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Raleigh Fire Department's technical rescue team responded to 30 water rescue calls in the first 24 hours.

The team of 75 members practice periodically to make sure they are ready in the event of a real-life water rescue.

Thursday on the Neuse River was that day.

Several firefighters jumped in the water one at a time and allowed themselves to be swept away by the water's current, before eventually being stopped by a "save line." The line was a rope tied from the river banks to a designated spot on the water.

In a different scenario, between five and six firefighters paddled on an inflatable raft across the river to simulate saving a stranded swimmer.

A captain with the fire department told ABC11 he prefers his firefighters to use a save line to rescue someone first and only then getting in the water should those efforts prove unsuccessful.

Thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers, the Raleigh Fire Department was able to use the Neuse River for practice.

Had the Army Corps not made the Neuse available, Raleigh Crews would have been diverted over an hour away to Roanoke Rapids.

The latter option would have prevented RFD from using certain resources due to being so far away and unavailable in the event of a real emergency.

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