Water rescues are some of the most difficult and dangerous emergencies our first responders face. On Sunday, in Harrisburg they learned what it takes to save a life.
First responders from across Pennsylvania and bordering states came to Harrisburg to learn how to save someone from rough, cold waters.
Harrisburg River Rescue Public Information Officer Joe Ketterer said those learning, played victims themselves. "There are 33 students here, what they're going to do, half of the students are on the upper end and they'll get a signal to go on at a time and they'll come down the river."
The group practiced at the dock street dam, where the conditions were perfect, nice and cold.
"I tell ya, the initial jump in is a little mind boggling. It's a lot colder than it looks." Said Brandon Reigle of Dauphin County.
Ketterer says the group was prepared for the cold waters. "These dry suits keep you really dry and the water is cold without these dry suits. We probably wouldn't have gotten very far."
Reigle says the strong current, makes you forget about the cold. "Just kind of holding the rope and pulling yourself to safety. There's a lot of current pushing against you. It's tough to get yourself out and the water starts going over your head. You get a little colder then."
Ketterer says more first responders are encountering water rescue conditions, and those are conditions they may not be ready for. "It's not uncommon, we're seeing a lot of flash flooding developing over the last few years. These folks are telling us stories that they go to scenes and there's a car that drove in water, folks on top of the car and these folks are the ones who have to go in."
These sessions will make sure they're ready, for any type of water rescue situation.