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Edmonton firefighters on North Saskatchewan River for winter water rescue training

Edmonton firefighters on the North Saskatchewan River doing "winter swift water rescue training" on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2022. Cam Cook, Global News

Over the next couple of weeks, Edmontonians might notice firefighters doing winter swift water rescue training on the North Saskatchewan River.

Keeping these skills up-to-date is part of training requirements, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services said in a news release Wednesday.

Winter swift water rescue operations are among “the highest risk activities for fire rescue personnel,” EFRS said.

Edmonton firefighterson the North Saskatchewan River doing “winter swift water rescue training” on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2022. Cam Cook, Global News

The river training will take place between Jan. 3 and Jan. 20 and will take place in groups of up to 30 firefighters.

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“Appropriate training and deployment are critical to ensuring the safety of our firefighters and the public,” Fire Chief Joe Zatlyny said.

“That means our crews have to train in the conditions we operate in and that includes cold winter days, which makes such operations extra challenging and increases the importance of this type of training.”

Click to play video: '4 dogs fall through North Saskatchewan River  ice on Wednesday'
4 dogs fall through North Saskatchewan River ice on Wednesday

Of Edmonton’s 30 fire stations, 19 currently provide water rescue services. Eight of those 19 stations have a group of staff trained for and dedicated to swift water response on the North Saskatchewan River and other flowing water. All 19 stations have qualified staff equipped to respond to lakes, storm water ponds and other non-flowing bodies of water, EFRS said.

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Edmontonians are asked to give the training firefighters room to work and stay away from ice shelves and river banks.

If a person or pet falls through the ice, call 911 then keep track of where they were last seen, don’t try to rescue them, and report any incidents to 311.

Edmonton firefighterson the North Saskatchewan River doing “winter swift water rescue training” on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2022. Cam Cook, Global News

EFRS said fire response times will not be impacted during the training.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton firefighters save dog clinging to ice at Terwillegar Park'
Edmonton firefighters save dog clinging to ice at Terwillegar Park

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