Provo Fire and Rescue practices swift water rescue techniques in Provo River

May 4, 2023, 7:30 AM

The Provo Fire Department rescue teams. (KSL-TV)...

The Provo Fire Department rescue teams. (KSL-TV)


PROVO, Utah — Provo Fire and Rescue is preparing for a busy and dangerous spring and summer. This week they’re practicing swift water rescues.

Right now the Provo River is running well below flood stage even so there’s still danger. There’s worry about higher water later this spring when more people are recreating in the canyon.

Provo Fire and Rescue practiced various swift water rescue techniques at the mouth of Provo Canyon.

They trained with high/low rope operations and throw bags trying to land it close to a person caught in the water: a skill rescuers say is a lot harder than it looks.

With a record snowpack, the fire department says this training is extra important this year

“I’m really glad that we’ve taken time early in the season to make sure that we’ve practiced up,” Brian Tanner, Captain of the Provo Fire Department said. “We know what we’re doing. We’re trained and ready to go.”

Tanner warns Utahns to stay clear of rivers this spring.

“Rivers are fun. Water is fun. It’s great to spend the summer by the water, but in this particular season with all the snowpack that we’ve had please be absolutely careful around the rivers in particular because they’re going to be flowing fast,” Tanner said. “You can lose your footing easily. Things can go bad in a big hurry and you can turn a wonderful picnic into a tragic event.”

The rescue teams also practiced with high/low rope operations and dealt with scenarios of conscious and unconscious patients.

Starting with techniques that can be used without sending a swimmer in.

“Because every time someone has to go into the water it’s highly dangerous,” Tanner said.


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Provo Fire and Rescue practices swift water rescue techniques in Provo River