Spokane Fire Department water rescue team ready for heatwave | Spokane News

SPOKANE, Wash. — As many plan to head to rivers and lakes to cool off during next week’s heat, the Spokane Fire Department Water Rescue Team conducted weekly training Saturday in the Spokane River.

The training took 10 of the team’s 40 members through various practice rescues. These trainings happen every Saturday of the year.

Connor Reding with the Spokane Fire Department said the training is a good way to simulate a wide range of rescue situations.

“Well we think about any way that a person could become trapped or needing a rescue, and we are equipped with all the tools that are required to handle that situation,” Reding said. 

Every day, there are ten members of the 40 total people on the water rescue team assigned to respond to rescue calls. The department has a jet boat they are able to use in deeper water, but they normally use kayaks and rafts to get to hard-to-reach areas on the river.

“In the summer or winter we are always using kayaks, they are our most versatile tool. Usually that will be one member operating in a kayak, and that will leave space for us to grab a victim and bring them to shore,” reding said. 

Even with the hot temperatures, Reding said that the water temperature is still something to take into account when planning a day on the water. 

“Even though the air is so warm, the moving water of the river stays cold, and it is possible to become hypothermic with that prolonged exposure in the river,” Reding said. 

Wearing a life jacket and having a plan on when to get in and get out of the water are the best ways to stay safe, Reding said. 


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