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Great Falls Fire Rescue talks about water safety

Great Falls Fire Rescue trains for water safety
Posted at 5:21 PM, May 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-20 19:21:43-04

GREAT FALLS — This is the time of year lakes and rivers tend to start getting busy, making it a good time to talk about water safety. KRTV spoke to Great Falls Fire Rescue about some recent water rescue training firefighters conducted.

If you find yourself in need of a rescue on the water in Great Falls, there’s a good chance Great Falls firefighters are going to be the ones who come for you. That’s why firefighters train repeatedly throughout the year.

"From start to finish, it's hooking the boat up, getting it down there, getting the boat in the water, getting on the boat, getting dispatched to a location and safely getting the victim onto the boat and back to the boat launch,” Great Falls Firefighter Lt. Joe Tinsley said about the training.

Tinsley says the fire department's recent water rescue training went smoothly.

"It's easier in the daylight. We like to do that at night, too, sometimes, just so we can get practice,” said Tinsley.

Lt. Joe Tinsley

If you're going to be on the water, the advice to stay safe is nothing new but unfortunately it's also not something everybody always does.

"Don't swim alone. Tell someone where you're going if you're going to swim alone. Wear a life vest, make sure it's properly fitting and it can support your weight. That river is ever-changing, the current, the sandbars are constantly moving. So know the river, know where you're going. Know safe places to swim where boaters aren't going to be,” Tinsley said.

Simple steps that could make the difference between life and death.

Something else to keep in mind in case you ever find yourself in the position of having to try to rescue someone is the saying: reach - throw - row - go.

That's the order in which you should try to rescue the person. First, try to use something like a tree branch to reach them from land.

If you can't reach them, throw something to them. If you can't throw anything, then row - meaning use a boat to try to get to the person.

Only as a last resort should you go, meaning go into the water yourself. That puts you at risk and could make the situation much worse. Click here for more water safety information on the American Red Cross website.