Kelowna Fire Department urges safety, prepares for spring melt with water rescue training

Swift water training for Kelowna Fire Department amid snowpack melt

It’s a dangerous time to be creekside, especially on the banks of Mission Creek in Kelowna, as the spring melt is in full effect.

“We do still have a high streamflow advisory for the region,” said David Campbell, B.C. River Forecast Centre’s head.

Kelowna’s Mission Creek is a popular area for people to get outside and experience the Okanagan region in its natural state.

READ MORE: Okanagan weather: more rain heading into the weekend

However, the creek can be highly dangerous for outdoor enthusiasts, as the creek runs fast during the spring.

“Right now, we’ve got a flow of about 30 cubic metres a second, so they’re still quite high,” said Campbell.

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The Kelowna Fire Department was on Mission Creek, sharpening their skills for possible creek rescues.

“We’ve got two of our teams training on the creek, doing swift water rescue training,” said Scott Cronquist, a Kelowna Fire Department deputy chief.

READ MORE: Overnight postal van blaze deemed suspicious by Kelowna Fire Department

Every year the department says people end up in the creek and the training is paramount for their rescue teams.

“With the spring runoff and the flows, we do end up getting people that think it’s a good idea to go for a tube,” said Cronquist.

“[They] end up in the creek one way or another and we just need to have teams ready to go.”

The department wants to remind the public to be aware of the dangers creeks pose.

“Make sure you stay off the water at this time; it is super dangerous. We don’t want anybody in the water,” said Cronquist.

The training spans over a few days and the rescue teams practice different techniques for specific rescue scenarios.

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Lethbridge first responders receive moving-water rescue and recovery training
Lethbridge first responders receive moving-water rescue and recovery training