About 25 Rescue Calls Come Into Saluda River Each Year. Here's How Crews Prepare to Save Lives

These are the abilities that will help them save lives when called upon.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Drones, boats and skilled rescuers were all on the river Friday training for the warmer weather that brings more folks to the river.

Every year on average,  the Columbia Fire Department responds to 25 emergency calls in the area. This weekend, they're training for those cases.

On Thursday, five people were rescued from the Saluda River after they were disoriented. That brings the number  of calls to the river this year to a total of seven.

The training included a two and a half hour rescue scenario that Chief Daniels McManus says works as muscle memory for when they get in those fast-acting situations.

One of the reasons people find themselves in an emergency is when SCE&G does routine releases of water from the Lake Murray Dam, pushing a lot of water through a fairly small area. A warning siren does go off three times to alert people, but Chief McManus says not a lot of people know what to do when they hear the noise.

"If you're outside enjoying the rocks that's great, but we want you to know that by the second blast it's going to rise quickly and by that third there's going to be much more between you and the shore," said McManus.

Firefighters will be training into the weekend. 

Click on the video above to get an example of what the sirens sound like. 

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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