RFD Performs Rescue Training on Truckee River

RENO, NV - "I'll put it to you like this, the more you play, the more you find out there's more hazards than fun," says RFD Suppression Captain Greg Claiborne.

In his 27 years with the Reno Fire Department, Claiborne has seen just how dangerous the Truckee River can be. Last year was especially memorable for river rescues.

"We had people that wanted to get in that river because they thought 'ooh it's neat, it's fun, it's fast, this is the way to be' and we end up swimming down first street grabbing them," says Claiborne.

Claiborne and the rest of the Wet Team have started gearing up for what they hope will be a safer summer by doing river rescue training near Verdi.

"Just like the teachers are in their classroom. They get their degrees, they do their student teaching. We're out here doing our training so when people are in an emergency, that training kicks in and we do our job," says instructor Rick Hart.

Those emergencies often arise when people aren't prepared. Even good swimmers can get in trouble when alcohol, deep water, or hidden hazards are involved. That's why the RFD reccomends one simple piece of equipment.

"I've never pulled a dead body out of the water that's wearing a life vest. It's a dangerous thing sometimes, so put all the odds in your favor and go have fun," says Captain Dick Nachtsheim.

It's inevitable that the Wet Team will still have to deal with some river rescues this year. They just hope that their training pays off when the real action goes down.

"You want to go home to your family at the end of the day, so you just keep your head on straight and depend on your buddies who are out there looking after you too," says Hart.

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