The Idaho Army National Guard and the City of Boise Fire Department cooperated on a joint operation to perform practical swift water rescue training on Gowen Field Air National Guard Base.
An Idaho Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk from Detachment 1, 1-168th Aviation Regiment with a UH-72 Lakota from Detachment 1, 1-112th Service and Support Battalion partnered with Boise firefighters on simulation training to prepare for potential rescue operations from a moving platform. The training was the first of its kind conducted with Idaho Army National Guard and Boise Fire Department personnel.
A trailer was attached to a truck and traveled at a moderate speed to simulate a swamped vehicle being moved by floodwaters. The helicopter and ground crews first practiced lowering and retrieving a bag of sand from the moving trailer to ensure safety protocols were met. Once the operation was deemed safe, firefighters themselves were then lowered onto the moving trailer and picked up in a series of simulated rescues. The training took place along an air assault strip used by Idaho Army National Guard Aviation units at the Gowen Field Air Base.
Sudden and severe flooding has the power to sweep people, vehicles and other large floating debris along in its path. Often, people will be stranded on these moving targets with no recourse to leave and will have to be rescued from them. This situation poses challenges for the rescue crew, having to avoid hazards like trees or wires in urban areas while keeping pace with an erratic, unstable moving target. This novel training process is a way for both the organizations to get a simulated experience of a situation that is becoming more likely with the increase in unpredictable extreme weather behaviors.
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