SEARCY, Ark. – As more people get out on the trails and the rivers, the Searcy Fire Department has a special team of firefighters ready in case of emergency.
It’s called the Special Operations Response Team and they handle anything from boaters stuck on the river to hikers that fall off the side of a mountain.
Strapping up and running through drills, a select group of Searcy Firefighters train for situations that have nothing to do with putting out flames.
Captain Swain is the head of the Special Operations Response Team and he said they handle all kinds of rescue calls.
“In the special operations world, that’s what you’re there for because a normal engine company or a normal truck company couldn’t handle it,” Captain Corbry Swain said. “For instance, on the side of the bluff, or a car gets swept of the road and be in deep water. Out at the river we get called quite a bit out there to do like search and rescue operations to find lost kayakers.”
These situations go beyond the typical fire academy training. For example, Wednesday they were working on a scenario where someone could be stranded on the side of a mountain or cliff..
“If you were to have a vehicle wreck or a steep embankment, we would actually package the patient like this down there and then carry them up that way,” Capt. Swain said.
Lately these kinds of calls are becoming all too frequent.
“We’ve probably been deployed more in this last year than in several years past. For easter weekend we had three in one day,” Capt. Swain said.
That’s why they practice not only at the station, but on the side of mountains and in the water.
“Our training takes over and we end up getting the job done,” Capt. Swain said.
There is a special application process for the team. Then they will put the applicants through drills to test their skills. From there, the team members vote.