Avon Police learn water rescue skills | VailDaily.com

Avon Police learn water rescue skills

Lauren Glendenning
Avon, CO Colorado

AVON, Colorado – The Avon Police Department got wet last week to learn important rescue skills along the Eagle River.

When people end up in the river in Avon, whether they fall in along the banks or go overboard from a raft or kayak, the Avon Police Department is often the first agency to arrive, said Battalion Chief Cipriano Tafoya, with the Eagle River Fire Protection District.

That’s why it’s important the police are trained in the same water rescue techniques the fire departments learn every year. It’s called “swift water rescue,” meaning the water is moving fast and rescue techniques are typically more difficult than in a lake, Tafoya said.

The Avon Police Department got a lot of calls last year when the water levels were high and the river was raging, said Avon Police Chief Brian Kozak. The police department noticed a need for more river rescue equipment, so it bought a total of $1,200 in equipment for each squad car on the force, he said.

Every police car now has a life vest, helmet, whistle and throw-rope to help with water rescues.

“Obviously we can help a lot more with this than with nothing,” said Avon officer Matt Jamison, who trained on the river with Eagle River Fire for the first time last week.

The police are a lot more mobile in their cars than the fire department is in a fire truck, Avon police Lt. Greg Daly said.

They can move down the river to try to help with a rescue as victims move downstream, he said.

“The more trained people we have on the (river) bank, the better we’re going to be able to make a rescue,” he said.

Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com

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