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WINDHAM COUNTY — With laughs, smiles, and wearing (for the moment) nice dry suits, members of Rescue Inc., jumped into the cold waters around Windham County during a five-day swift-water training in early April. Jumping into raging waters might seem crazy to those passing by, but these drills help prepare for real-life situations.

Rescue Inc. is Vermont’s Memorandum of Understanding Team for Swift-water Flood Rescue, so every year they have a qualification weekend. These trainings helped the team be ready for three real life situations that occurred over that weekend that put those skills to the test.

Two calls were in Hinsdale, N.H., where a hiker and dog companion fell off a cliff and needed extrication from the river bank. Another was a lost hiker in Pisgah State Park. One call was in Dummerston, where the team was training in the West River and came upon a kayaker who advised them they had self-rescued; however, their kayak was stuck in the river. To mitigate public concern (of a kayak with no visible occupant) the team searched for, located, and extricated the kayak and returned it to its owner.

In the training, the team covered topics including safe operations around the water’s edge, how to understand and “read” the hydrology of the water, swift-water entry and swimming, recovering victims via throw bag, and other skills needed.

The team’s five-day training was based out of a “tent city” in Newfane and operated on the waters of the Stickney Brook and West River, culminating with the challenging and very technical Sumner Falls in Hartland, Vt.

Rescue Inc. is a registered non-profit (501©3) that provides quality EMS care and transport to 15 towns in Southern Vermont and Western New Hampshire.