The Smithville-Dekalb County Rescue Squad will go to the county commission to request funding to form a Swift Water Rescue Task Force.
Rescue Squad Captain Dustin Johnson said cars being swept off the road from flooding is an increasing issue. Johnson said the rescue squad is going to ask the county for $18,000.
“What we’re trying to do is, we’re trying to come up with the gear,” Johnson said. “The gear is expensive to start off with but we have to have the gear before we can even start the class. Because you have to have your gear to take the class.”
Johnson said 15 special life vests are needed to take the 36 hours of swift water training courses. Johnson said residents should reach out to their county commissioner if they feel the same need to increase swift water rescue capabilities.
“Right now we call in special forces from surrounding counties sometimes to help assist us,” Johnson said. “Sometimes waiting for them to get to us, if we had our own team we could get to the scene faster and maybe access the patients quicker.”
Johnson said there are currently two rescue squad members with swift water training. He said a coalition of agencies in the area is being created to form the Swift Water Rescue Task Force.
“You have to be in pretty good physical shape to do this,” Johnson said. “This is why we’ve reached it out. There’s Smithville-Dekalb County Rescue Squad and a Dekalb County Fire Department, the Smithville Fire Department and Alexandria Fire Department. And there may be some law enforcement officers who may get in this class too. But what we’re trying to do is combine our resources to come up with one team.”