First responders train for water rescues at Kentucky Kingdom's R - WDRB 41 Louisville News

First responders train for water rescues at Kentucky Kingdom's Raging Rapids River Ride

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Police and firefighters aren't always working the streets. They're also called to water rescues. 

That's why today some found themselves braving Raging Rapids at Kentucky Kingdom.

Rushing water can quickly suck you under if you're not prepared. That's why emergency responders need to learn the ropes before they're called to a water rescue. The LMPD dive team and firefighters from Louisville, Fern Creek and Shelbyville found the perfect place for training: the Raging Rapids River Ride.

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"We're training more for, like, when the floods hit and the waters are very swift," said Sgt. Marc Myers of Louisville Fire and Rescue. "It's hard for us to simulate that, but Kentucky Kingdom is gracious enough to let us come out here in their ride and take out all the boats for us."

"The rapids here are pretty rough," said Austin Price of the Fern Creek Fire Department. "I think this a great simulation. Obviously there's a little bit of danger to it, but some great training."

The first thing they're taught is to try to stay dry in a rescue -- to pull someone to safety from shore.

"If that doesn't happen and if someone either gets knocked in, or we have to make entry into the water, then we want them in their feet-downstream position -- which we call the defensive swim position -- just to sort of help protect them and make sure they stay safe," said Myers.

Once they're in the water, there's one thing they learn to avoid: swimming under trees or other objects in the water. That's why they're trained to go over -- not under -- the black tube they train near in the water. 

They are all lessons they're learning now, before an emergency. 

"When they hit the water, it will take their breath away, and this ride is designed to create some of those," said Myers. "They'll get a little beat up when the water is in their face constantly, so it's a really good training tool for them to be prepared for that." 

The swift water training will wrap up with classes at a local lake.

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