A Look At How The Tulsa Fire Department Trains For Water Rescues

Wednesday, April 21st 2021, 9:49 pm
By: Grant Stephens

SKIATOOK, Oklahoma -

Tulsa firefighters swapped their fire trucks for boats Wednesday as they trained to perform water rescues.

Some Tulsa Firefighters are getting specialized water rescue training this week at Skiatook Lake.

Crews loaded up Wednesday morning on boats and rafts on Skiatook Lake to do mock searches, and practice rescues and boat maneuvers.

Captain Matt Bell said the training is put to the test each spring when people drive on flooded roads.

"We have a lot of people that drive in the floodwater," Bell said. "So, it's very common during the springtime, we get heavy rains, flood, people will try to drive through it, they'll get stranded on their vehicle and then they'll call."

Beyond maneuvering boats, firefighters learned how to pull people from the water onto a boat, and what to search for when someone is trapped in the water.

Bell said the department has boats stationed across the city.

They're used mostly for high-water rescues in the spring, but he says crews get called 55-60 times a year in the Arkansas river alone.