While Black Hawk helicopters hovered over Lake Norman near Denver last week, dozens of first responders took turns acting as victims in need of rescue.For three days, more than 70 police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and members of the N.C. National Guard repeated this exercise dozens of times. The demonstration was training for the N.C. National Guard’s Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team, which consists of local, state and national agencies that work to practice water rescues. Some first responders acted as victims in the water and were hoisted into the helicopters, while members of the Air Force practiced piloting the helicopters.Lt. Col. Bryan Hill, of the N.C. Air National Guard, said the training events held once a year are meant to prepare the agencies for flooding situations. “We all come together for specialized training events so we are prepared to deploy when emergency action is needed,” he said.“It’s an exciting day,” said Dion Burleson, public information officer for the Denver Fire Department. “It’s a unique opportunity for the agencies to work together.”Burleson said the event ensures that public safety agencies know how to respond if there is a natural disaster.“In crisis, multiple agencies must work together,” he said. “That’s the big take-home, to take advantage of resources and train with equipment.”Johnny Roseboro, a captain for the Denver Fire Department, also said the training days were essential for the Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team.“It helps the pilots for the rescuers to come in and act as victims,” he said. “And it helps our guys become familiar with procedure.” Roseboro said the agencies have not used the training in a real-life yet. “We’ve dodged that bullet, but it’s always good to be prepared and be on standby,” he said. “It’s not if, it’s when.”
Friday, Jun. 07, 2013
First responders practice water rescues
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