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Swift water rescue training held in Johnson County

STAFFORDSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Officials with Johnson County Fire and Rescue, the primary agency in Johnson County for responding to all specialty rescue situations, say a new training program has volunteers one step closer to providing better services and care for folks in the area.

Members of the Johnson County Rescue Squad Technical Rescue Team did not have the chance to relax at Paintsville Lake on Sunday. They simulated swimming against currents for part of their Swift Water Rescue Training Program.

"You wouldn't think that boat would be that hard, but with that distance and with the boat, and with someone beside of you, it's rough," said Deputy Chief Kevin McCarty.

Rescue officials say the program will allow Johnson County first responders to better assist people in water related emergencies, instead of always calling in help from surrounding counties. This is something fire officials say will save time and could save lives.

Officials say this program will also create more specialized personnel trained in water rescue in Johnson County, including six new technicians.

"Having the technicians that if we do have a go in the water rescue, we have more personnel available that can actually perform that rescue. If one rescuer gets in trouble, we have another one to back them up and go in and help them," said Brian Benham, the Battalion Chief.

The Swift Water Program is part of the Technical Rescue Team's initiative to improve the ability of rescuers to help people during specialized emergencies. These including ice, dive, high angle, confined space, and trench related rescue situations.

"We feel that the residents of Johnson County can be proud of these individuals that have gone through this class because they didn't do it for themselves. They did it for the county. They did it for the community," Battalion Chief Benham said.

Sunday was the last day of the Swift Water Rescue Training Program, but members of the team will continue to condition and practice. They will be spending their weekends working to hone their skills in order to better serve their community.

The Johnson County Rescue Squad has assisted agencies in multiple counties during emergencies, including the Knott County Rough Terrain Rescue.

Former Chief Bob Dixon was instrumental in creating the program.

Officials say other departments in Johnson County are welcome to join the Johnson County Rescue Squad for training. Their phone number (606) 297-5555.

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