Troopers, airmen hold rescue training

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MILLBROOK, AL (WSFA) - Emergency workers and the Air Force Reserve used the weather as a training tool this weekend.

Dozens of them were on--and over--the Alabama river, training for 'worst-case scenarios,' and learning how to save lives.

"We're practicing for if we ever have to bail out of an airplane and into the water," said one member of the 908th Airlift Wing.

Airmen spent hours running emergency drills.  Should a plane go down, they're supposed to know what to do.

"It's exactly what they need," said Senior Airman Chad Braunschweig.

"It's real world, effective training, that they're hopefully never going to forget. Especially if they need it."

The training is two fold.  It gives airmen the chance to prepare and it gives troopers rescue experience that's essential along Alabama's waterways.

"With summer coming up, and people boating and out on the water, there's a very good chance they may be called to do some type of rescue out on the water," explained Sergeant Steve Jarrett.

Despite pounding winds, Chief Pilot Lee Hamilton and his crew were up to the task, using a special rope and what's called a 'strop' to hoist victims from the water.

"It's a great asset to our department and the agencies we support," said one crew member.

Of course, being lifted hundreds of feet into the air isn't in a swimmer's everyday plans.

Still, troopers say--in an emergency--the chopper ride may be your best bet.

"Any rescue squad that has a situation that's going to put their lives at stake in performing and getting this person out, [. . .] This is just another tool they can put in their tool shed," Hamilton said.

Workers from the Department of Conservation also leant their services. Some of the men who trained from the 908th Airlift Wing are set to deploy in about a week.

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