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Eagle Fire preparing for more water rescues

Crews using new kayaks to reach swimmers.
Posted at 9:58 PM, May 30, 2024

EAGLE, IDAHO — Eagle Fire Department plunged into the Boise River Thursday afternoon to freshen up on their water rescue protocols.

  • Eagle Fire is preparing with several drills to refresh their water rescue skills.
  • Eagle Fire has new kayaks to help them check shorelines.
  • To be safe, communicate your plan with others when heading to the river.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

Summer in full swing means Eagle Fire has to shift gears and begin training for water rescues. I'm your Eagle neighborhood reporter Alexander Huddleston and I met up with the crew down on the river to watch as they practiced saving lives.

Water is running high, raising the awareness of Treasure Valley first responders as we enter the hundred most dangerous days of the year.

"So this week and next week we are spending time in the river refreshing our swift water skills. Two weeks ago when the flows were up higher we were using our boats. Right now we are working on shore-based rescue and foot entanglement," said Eagle Fire Battalion Chief Rob Shoplock.

Battalion Chief Shoplock says this year, Eagle Fire is introducing a new way to save lives.

Battalion Chief Shoplock explained, "We have these new inflatable kayaks that can deploy really quickly. Each firefighter can put them in a backpack and walk them down to the river, pop in, and check the shoreline."

Other than getting caught in the current, Battalion Chief Shoplock says one of the most common reasons they respond to the river is something people typically don't think about in the summer heat.

"This time of year, some of the big stuff we do, when it starts getting warm out, the water is still really cold. If people get in the water, they may get hypothermic, stuff like that. Make sure you're with someone," continued the Battalion Chief.

He finished, "This is not just a normal part of the Boise River. It splits in two at the east end of our district. So the flows are a lot lower compared to downtown Boise or when you get to Star when they come back together. So we have to come up with different techniques when we can't actually get our boat in the water."

Battalion Chief Shoplock told me communication is key for folks to stay safe while floating. tell family or friends where and when you decide to hop in.