CAP’s system brings water to millions Arizonans, but for Arizona’s first responders, it also serves as the perfect training ground for swift water rescues.
Each year, the City of Phoenix and other emergency service providers utilize the canal to practice rescuing a “victim” from the water. Rescuers don personal protective equipment (PPE), practice rescue swimming in moving water current, perform throw bag operations, execute boating operations, and throw ropes across the water to a helicopter.
Darin Perkins, CAP’s Safety Manager, said the partnership is a reflection of CAP’s commitment to safety in our community.
“Just as various forms of training are important to the safe and successful execution of work by CAP employees, swift water rescue training is important to emergency services providers,” Perkins said. “Living in a desert, there isn’t much by way of naturally-occurring, moving water, so providing them access to the canal for training purposes helps ensure they have the needed experience to properly respond if and when the real emergencies occur.”
CAP’s entire system is fenced to protect the public’s safety, the water is moving more quickly that it looks and can be deadly if someone falls in. Responders practice in the canal near CAP Headquarters in north Phoenix; the water is dynamic enough to be challenging for the rescue teams but predictable enough for crews to train without risking their lives. The practice prepares them for monsoon and similar storm events that can create sudden flash floods and other life-threatening emergencies.