Firefighters Take to the Saluda River to Drill in Swiftwater Rescue

Crews with the Columbia-Richland Fire Department were once again out on the Saluda River in mid-April practicing rescue techniques in swiftwater conditions.

The annual swiftwater rescue training and recertification classes assisted firefighters in getting ready to handle an increased number of water rescues during the summer season. All training sessions took place on the stretch of the Saluda River off of Candi Lane near the Riverbanks Zoo.

“The warmer weather always brings a strong uptick in the number of water rescues that our firefighters are called to handle. That’s why it’s highly important for us to get this training and re-training in with our crews during the spring,” said Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, “We are incredibly grateful to Dominion Energy for making these sessions possible by giving us the water-flow we need on the river.”

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.

“Collaborations like this are essential for serving our neighbors when they need us most,” said Keller Kissam, Dominion Energy South Carolina President. “Whether by providing safe, reliable electric and gas service or assisting with emergency response, we’ve had the privilege of working for decades alongside Chief Jenkins and the team of professionals at the Columbia-Richland Fire Department.”

Matt Long with ‘Dominion Energy’ speaking to the media on Day 2 of training

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 . 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.