First responders conduct swift water rescue training in Phoenix

- Phoenix Fire Capt. Jake Van Hook knows all too well the dangers of getting caught in swift water. 

Last January, he rescued a victim out of a wash near near Cave Creek.

"It does take three or four, five feet of water to move your car downstream, even a foot of water for a low-lying car, and at that point, it's just a buoyant," he said. "It's a constant coordinate and cooperation to be able to pull this off in a safe manner."

That's why Phoenix fire and Central Arizona Project run rescue scenarios like this. Jake says to put it into perspective, between the pilot, police, and firefighters, conducting a water rescue by helicopter is like lowering a pen connected to a string from high above and attempting to dot an "I."

"If you're on your car, stay on your car," he said. "It is safe at that point to stay on your car, or safer than getting into the water and trying to get out on your own."

Just follow the monsoon season golden rule and don't attempt to cross any water, but if you do find yourself in a challenging situation, call 911 immediately if possible.

In the meantime, do what you can to find a stabilizer.

"Stay on your back, keep your feet forward, try to move towards the shore, some light paddling toward the shore, to be able to grab a branch or something like that to get to an area where you can plant a foot or arm and be able to stop yourself at that point," Capt. Van Hook said.

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