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First responders get surface water rescue training

As area rivers get busier, some local rescue squads across Henderson County are stepping up their game, holding North Carolina Surface Water Rescue Training. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

As area rivers get busier, some local rescue squads across Henderson County are stepping up their game with North Carolina Surface Water Rescue Training.

"I consider myself a pretty physical guy," Robert King, a member of the Fletcher Fire Department, said. "I try to stay in shape. This stuff will definitely wear you out, and it's something that does not come naturally. It's very difficult and requires extensive training."

Dan Hayes of the Henderson County Rescue Squad is one of the instructors. His goal is to help get his students certified by the office of the state fire marshal.

"As the community gets more on the water, it, by nature, things are going to happen. And, when things happen, we've got to be prepared because they are going to call the fire department, the rescue squads," Hayes said.

Monday's simulated emergencies in the French Broad River are many: from a boat's motor dying, to a person overboard, to rescuing someone stranded in the river.

Trainers said kayaks are often used to search for bodies and weapons.

Instructors said this kind of training is more and more essential with more people enjoying the river, but too few are using a personal flotation device.

"Without some kind of flotation device, they can easily become entangled," Hayes said.

"These waters, they are rougher than you think, and there can be all kinds of hidden dangers," King added.

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