Preparing for a Water Emergency

RENO, NV - The Peppermill Resort pool isn't a lake, ocean or river.

But it will have do to as men from various public safety agencies around the country train to save themselves in an emergency.

“Flying over water you have an emergency, go down in water, a large body of water, such as Lake Tahoe. And the goal is to have the training instinctively what we call egress from the aircraft,” says Jim DiGiovanna, the training coordinator.

A total of 40 students signed up for the class.

In the practical portion of the course, they are taken in teams of ten in the pool.

Individually the men are placed in cages to simulate the inside of the helicopter.

Trainers turn the cage upside down and now the student must get himself out.

“If you actually ditch the ship in water it's obviously going to be a lot different. A lot more violent than what they are doing here. It's better than having to go through an emergency with no training,” says Sergeant Ed Clark with Placer County Sheriff's Office, a student in the class.

Along with the escape training, students must learn to use an emergency air supply with regulator upside down and make their way to the surface

If these students pass both a written and practical exam given at the end of the course, they'll be certified for two years.

If they ever have to use the skill in real life, the conditions may be all together different-- winter time, cold, and dark, and the chemical could be leaking gasoline instead of a chlorinated pool on a hot summer day.

The Airborne Law Enforcement Association's annual meeting will be in Florida next year.

DiGiovanna says they always train at resort pools where they often draw a crowd—but never a complaint.

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