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Fire Crews Prepare for Summer Season with Annual Swiftwater Rescue Classes

With summer weather quickly approaching, Columbia-Richland firefighters once again suited up to train and drill in rescue techniques on our area waterways.

The department held annual training and re certification sessions for swiftwater rescue beginning on Wednesday April 14, 2021.

All sessions took place on the stretch of the Saluda River off of Candi Lane near the Riverbanks Zoo.

“This annual training is crucial for our rescue crews each and every spring,” said Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, “The warmer weather always ushers in busier conditions on our rivers and lakes and with that comes the possibility of civilians needing rescue. That being said, any time we can get our crews practice working in fast-moving water is of GREAT value to us. We are grateful to have the support of our partners at Dominion Energy in making this training possible.”

Every year Dominion Energy commits certain days in April to flowing more water through the Dreher Shoals Dam. This creates white-water conditions on the Lower Saluda needed to maximize training for CRFD rescue crews.

“Whether providing safe and reliable electric and gas service or responding to emergencies, we’ve had the distinct privilege of working alongside Chief Jenkins and his team of professionals at the Columbia-Richland Fire Department for decades,” said Keller Kissam, Dominion Energy South Carolina President of Electric Operations. “Collaboration through exercises such as swiftwater rescue training is essential for serving our neighbors when they need us most.”

Firefighters want to remind citizens to ALWAYS be aware of water flow conditions on area rivers before venturing out to recreate. Conditions on the Lower Saluda River are always accessible by logging on to www.dominionenergy.com . Planned operations that could change the flow of the river are listed.

While recreating on the water citizens are also highly encouraged to WEAR A LIFE JACKET or personal flotation device.