CHICKASAW COUNTY, Miss. (WTVA) - Volunteer firefighters from both Monroe County Search and Rescue and the Chickasaw County Fire Department are doing what is called joint training on the subject of top water rescue.
The awareness-level class enables the firefighters to perform their skills from the banks.
"Last year we taught a class and today we're back refreshing and practicing skills," said Tony Garza, team commander for Monroe County Search and Rescue. "[This way] we can continue to develope their skill level to be able to perform active rescues."
Firefighters say looks can be deceiving especially when it comes to a lake, a river, or even a pond.
"A lot of people take water for granted," said Bruce Burkeen, president of EMS Association Chickasaw County. "You don't necessarily know what kind of traps are underwater [like] holes you'll likely be able to walk along there. [If] you fall off in a hole, that's a lot deeper than you expected."
For the volunteer firefighters that are going through this exercise, drills like this are so important given the basic training available.
In the event they have to respond, they know what to do when they enter the water.
"Training helps us to do our jobs better," adds Burkeen. "If we don't train and we get on scene we really don't know what to do."
For people who frequent lakes, rivers and pools, it offers some relief to know that those who might have to be called on are up to speed in the event they are pressed into action.
"When something really does happen, we want them to be there and we know that they are. That's why they're training today," adds Kristy Olson, resident of New Site. "They can help the people in the community from their hearts and it's really reassuring to know when we need them, they're here."
One avid swimmer offers this key tip after one has looked over the surroundings: make sure there is proper adult supervision at all times, especially while children are swimming or just playing in the water.
"I make sure there are no hazards," said Corena Jones, Pontotoc resident. "I keep an eye on them to make sure that they are safe and also make sure that both of them can swim."