Washington Co.-Johnson City EMS train first responders on swiftwater rescue

JONESBOROUGH, TN (WJHL) – The Washington County/Johnson City EMS wrapped up its swiftwater rescue training on the Nolichucky River on Thursday.

Trainees learned methods in rope rescue, rescue from vehicles in water, boat handling and other life saving skills.

Instructor Keith Ellis said these teams are mostly used during area flooding and emergencies on rivers and streams.

“When this river comes to flood stage, obviously they can be called in to work,” Ellis said. “In the city, if we have heavy amounts of rain that hits us from either a hurricane coming off the coast, we get the remnants of that, or if we just get some type of a flash flood, this is what teaches those people how to operate in those environments.”

Ellis said this is the type of team that has been sent in first during recent hurricanes.

“These teams are specialized in swimming, they’re specialized in knots, anchors, and they’re specialized in boat handling as well,” Ellis said.

The training occurs once each year and lasts for three days.

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