Phoenix Fire Department trains with new tools to assist during water rescues while monsoon season approaches

Monsoon season is right around the corner and the Phoenix Fire Department is gearing up.

The technical rescue operations team of the Phoenix Fire Department and several other departments around the Valley are hosting annual swift water rescue training programs. 

Rescuers are training with specialized gear and equipment used for rescuing victims trapped in swift moving water, such as the Phoenix Police Department's Firebird 10.

"What we're doing here today and all week, we have a boat cap representing running river or rushing water in a dry wash, and the boat's gonna represent a car. So on top of the roof of their car, we’re gonna go there. We’re gonna pick those, we’re gonna lower the firefighters with the hoist. We’re gonna get them off that running river around them, bring them up and bring them to safety, Captain Rob McDade of the Phoenix Fire Department said. 

"Again, the pilots, the firefighters, we're on the same page, so it's central to make sure that at 2 a.m. or two in the afternoon - no matter what the conditions are - we're prepared."

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Paul Apolinar, Chief Pilot of the Phoenix Police Department was also at the day's event.

"During the summertime, what affects the rescues is the heat," he said. "The heat is not only taxing on the people on the ground, but it's taxing on the flight crews and rescuers. The entire operation is a little riskier."

Excessive Heat Warning issued for Phoenix area

Crews were asked to remind the public to follow warnings, with the hope of not having to put the training to use.

"When the monsoon is there and it looks good in 5 minutes, it might look terrible. Hear the warnings. Listen to what we’re saying, whether you've been here forever or you’re new to the Valley and this is your first monsoon season with us, be respectful of it. It's deadly," McDade said.

"We've had people die trying to cross a river because they think it's only up to my tires. (They think) ‘I can make it,’ but that water level can change from 4 inches to 12 inches in the matter of minutes."

The monsoon season officially begins June 15 and runs through Sept. 30th.