(Hermitage,Mo-04/11/18) Missouri State Highway Patrol and dozens of first responders took to the water today to learn life saving training techniques on how to navigate through floodwaters.
Missouri State Highway Patrol works to keep you safe on the roadways, but they are also trained to keep you safe if you get caught in water and need help.
"With all the flooding that has occurred in Missouri is incredibly dangerous in swift water conditions. So the more officers that we have trained to go into those environments the safer we’re going to be and the victims," explains Lt. Michael Petlansky, Assistant Director, Water Patrol Division.
Petlanksy says swift water rescue training is crucial, with training scenarios meant to prepare the men and women for what they might encounter in the field.
"We’ll get our boat drivers up there and comfortable in that swift water, be able to maneuver the boat, and then the second phase is the student portion where they will actually jump into the water and have to negotiate the swift current."
That's why the highway patrol used the water at the Pomme De Terre Dam to simulate swift water rescues, and train the participants like Missouri State Highway Patrol's Cpl. Stacey Mosher.
"These are very types of incidents that don’t happen very frequently, but when they do happen they are the most intense and the most important and that’s why it’s so important to get out here and train," explains Mosher.
But with every grueling task the responders better prepare themselves for the day when these waters are no longer a training ground.
"We want them to learn out here in this environment. If you make a mistake it’s not the end of the world, you learn from it and move on. Real world you might not have that luxury, you might only have one shot to execute a rescue," says Petlanksy.
The message from rescuers is simple: don't underestimate the power of water,
"Don’t put yourself in jeopardy when flooding events do occur. Pay attention to the roadways out there, don’t travel through flooded roadways."
Officials say it's important for all of us to understand the danger as they've already performed four water rescues in 2018.