The Florida Task Force 2, a Federal Emergency Management Agency deployment team comprised of at least five fire departments, visited the Chattahoochee River to practice swift-water rescue training on Tuesday.
The group is often called to dangerous urban search and rescue situations across the world, so they engaged in Tactical Rescue Services’ two-day training session to prepare them. And for Tuesday’s final exam, the group was asked to participate in a swift-water rescue scenario in Columbus.
With Columbus Fire & EMS officials acting as “victims,” the task force focused on small boat operations.
“Their final exam is essentially all of the skills we’ve been teaching them over the last two days,” Brandon Butler, owner of Tactical Rescue Services. “We’ll have four people out in the water that are trained swift-water techs from Columbus. They’ll basically be floating down in certain positions, and they’ll have to recover them in these nasty conditions.”
The trainees must rescue all of the “victims” to pass the training course. If someone doesn’t, the Tactical Rescue Services company helps that individual improve.
“There are moving from conditions they deal with locally to something they’ve never seen before,”Butler said. “What we’re trying to do is give them a generalized operational level, so they kind of have an idea of how to deal with all of these different conditions and be able to work around them.”
Tuesday was the first time the training company brought agents to Columbus, but it most likely won’t be the last, according to Tactical Rescue Services.
“Honestly, if I get any other classes that are even remotely close to this region, we’re coming here,” Butler said. “Frankly, the fire department is one of the hosts we’ve had. They are just unbelievable with helping us out.”