Orange Beach swift water techs are training with the U.S. Coast Guard in the Gulf of Mexico.
The crews are honing their skills as they work together to perform rescues.
“It’s a little bit nerve racking for some because they’ve never done this type of work before,” Orange Beach Fire Rescue’s Chief of Training Chance Ard told WKRG reporters.
The team is taking advantage of the slower winter months to practice this week, simulating a water rescue by boat with the help of air support from above. Ard says in some cases the department has responded to boaters in distress 50 miles out and every second is critical.
“Fishing vessels they can hold up to 50 people, so if you have one of those go down you’re going to need a lot more assets to be able to get the victims out of the water,” he explained adding that it’s a challenging task, working together with the Coast Guard in tough conditions as the helicopter hovers above.