Local volunteers learn practices that could save your life.

More than 30 volunteer and career emergency services personnel from Botetourt County took two and half days of training on water rescue incidents on the James River September 19-21.

“With the James River and its many tributaries running through Botetourt County, it only makes sense that emergency responders not only be equipped, but be trained in the latest standards for water rescue,” Botetourt County Division Chief David Firestone explained. In the past eight months, crews from all over the county have responded to numerous reports of victims in the water or in trouble on the waterways.

Included in those calls for help was an incident involving a drowning near Glen Wilton in early summer.

This water rescue course was taught by Spec Rescue International, a Virginia Beach-based training agency.

Experts from West Virginia, Hampton and Virginia Beach were brought in to help emergency responders get a true sense of the dangers faced during rescues in swift water and floods.

Rescuers participated in activities such as extraction of a victim from a completely flooded house, safe boat operations in moving water, and self survival techniques.

“I think this course was a real eye opener for those that haven’t had the opportunity to participate in a water rescue incident or training of this kind.” remarked Troutville Volunteer Fire Chief Scott Paderick.

Volunteers from around Botetourt County, including the those from Blue Ridge Rescue, Troutville Fire & Rescue, Fincastle Fire, Eagle Rock Fire & Rescue, Glen Wilton Fire & Rescue and Read Mountain Fire & Rescue participated in this program.

Over 30 personnel walked away with a much better sense of how to seamlessly and cooperatively operate during a water-based rescue, an increasing reality in Botetourt County, Ferguson said.

“It was a great class; we built a lot of camaraderie and took home plenty of valuable information,” is the way Eagle Rock Fire Chief Darryl Johns summed up the effort.

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