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Waco Fire Department trains for high-water rescues as chances for flash flooding increase

6 News Anchor Baylee Bates shows us how first responders are preparing for possible high water rescues with days of rain in the forecast.

WACO, Texas — With rain chances nearly every day this week, there is some worry about flash flooding in the area. The Waco Fire Department is taking the time to make sure they're prepared for when they get the call for help.

That entails getting out of the station, off the fire engines and into the water. The Brazos River was the scene for water rescue training for some of the members of the technical rescue team on Monday.

"We would rather train in very swift water because the more difficult the training, the better we will be," said Lt. Billy Eary, who is a swiftwater instructor for Waco Fire.

The technical rescue team does see an increase in water rescue calls during this time of year -- whether it stems from flooding, flash flooding, swift water, or drownings.

Eary said it's important for them to get reps in, especially when the forecast may signal an increase in calls.

"So, that it's safe for us and any potential victims that we have to get out of the water," he explained. "A lot of times we only have one shot and getting someone out of a dangerous situation and so we want to make sure we do the best that we can with that one shot."

Monday's training focused on tiller work, or operating the boat. It also helped members of the team practice their rescue maneuvers. 

Eary says river and creeks are the more problematic areas when it comes to flooding and they can rise without rain locally since their source is from different parts of the state.

In the city limits, when it comes to flooding the bigger concerns are drainage ditches.

"You have a lot of small kids and teenagers and stuff that will play in that water not realizing how fast and how strong it is and it'll sweep them away," Eary added. "That's always the biggest fear that we have is of kids playing in these drainage ditches and getting swept away."

The best thing you can do when flooding concerns are happening in your area is be patient and respect the power of the water. However, if you need help from the Waco Fire Department -- they are ready to rise to the occasion.

"Just take your time, don't drive through the water," Eary pleaded. "If you can't see the ground, don't drive through it. Go somewhere and wait until the water recedes. If you don't have to be in it, don't get in it and if you need help, call us and we will come.

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