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Danville Life Saving Crew members train for river rescues

Danville Life Saving Crew members train for river rescues

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As the weather warms, more residents head toward water adventures, especially along the Dan River.

That’s one reason why the Danville (Va.) Life Save Crew’s Swiftwater Rescue team converged on a recent Saturday. Members spent April 24 — a chilly, rainy day — training on the Dan River.

“When emergencies occur, it is rarely a beautiful, sunny and 75 [degree] day,” said medic Charlotte Newnam, who coordinated the day’s training.

“Anything can happen at any time, and we all have to be prepared to accomplish the task regardless of the elements,” Newnam said in a news release.

The training — both in and out of the water — involved many components. First, with river temperatures about 53 degrees, the team spent time in the water to get used to the different conditions.

Since each part of the river has a different characteristic, those involved with the training learned how to approach each section. They also went over boat operations and maneuvers.

“The technicians assessed different current flows along the river and incorporated the use of eddies,” Bryan Fox, the crew’s deputy chief, said in the release.

“The Swiftwater Rescue team is called into action on all water-related emergencies within the city, as well as in surrounding areas in Pittsylvania or Caswell County,” Danville Life Saving Crew Chief Robbie Woodall said.

The team responds to an average of 10 water rescue calls per year. Some emergencies arise because of stranded boaters, swimmers in distress or missing persons along bodies of water, Tommy Barber, battalion training chief, said. Other rescue operations involve stranded pets.

The water rescue team just one part of special operations at the Danville Life Save Crew.

“Other special operations teams include Dive, Drone, Extrication, and the Rescue Task Force,” Newnam said.

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