BOISE - A select group of Boise firefighters are training to be part of the dive rescue team. It's a three-week academy, and today, they could be seen diving in the pond at Simplot Park.
Two cars and a boat were placed on the bottom of the pond when the park was constructed to be used for dive training. This location is an important place to practice rescues, this year especially.
Boise Fire Capt. Jerrod Wong says the water is murky and a test for the senses.
"The pond, the visibility is really poor in the ponds, but when you get an object down there, especially the size of a vehicle, it gives us something to work with," Wong said.
Wong says they don't do a lot of dive rescues involving cars.
"But we get cars in canals, we've had cars in Lucky Peak," he said.
Most of the calls they respond to are river rescues. But this season Boise Fire Dive Rescue expects to respond to more places like this.
"With the river the way it is right now we're probably going to end up with a lot of people, more people, at these ponds and lakes because the river is closed for floating, so it changes the environment we work in," Wong said.
That's why jumping in here is so important for these firefighters.
"It's as real life training as you can get,” Wong said.
And that includes some of the stress.
Divers are always racing against the clock. Wong says rescue operations should take no longer than 90 minutes -- from start to finish.
"So we have to take in to account travel time, equipment load up, set up, and just all of the safety concerns in mind," he said.
Whether it was a real life-or-death situation or training here at Simplot Park pond, Wong says when they come back to the surface the experience has made them better rescue divers and even more ready for the next call.
During the three-week dive rescue academy, Boise firefighters also learn swift water techniques.
They have to meet physical ability testing and physical exam prerequisites to be considered for the academy.
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