Butte County, Calif. - The Butte County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team trained in the Sacramento River Saturday.
"We are really gearing up and making sure we are completely prepared for flood season. If you have been in Butte County in the last couple of years, you never know what to expect. So we want to be prepared for that worst-case scenario where we do have flooding and people need to be rescued," said Dennis Schmidt.
Schmidt says he has been part of the team for over ten years. He says the team does training at least once a month.
"We also do over the edge training, which is gearing ropes to go over the edge to simulate a rescue. Our swift water team also does training once a month, as well as our diving team and we have general search trainings as well," said Schmidt.
Schmidt said this training was for the Air-Ops and the Swift Water Team. He says they were working on two types of rescues.
"One would be what's called a short-haul, where we physically connect with the person and put a life-ring on them and then haul them out of the water to safety. The other type is what was done with the helicopter. That is called a side-tow and it is much quicker and you can move more people in a hurry if that was the appropriate rescue to do," said Schmidt.
All of the people that were training were volunteers, except for the two pilots.
"The Sheriff's office provides the helicopters and the pilots, we are very lucky to have the air assets in Butte County," explained Schmidt.
Schmidt added the overall cost of the training for their team is minimal because the Sheriff's Department provides the helicopters and the pilots.
"Our team does maintain our boats and our wave runners and the other equipment that we use," said Schmidt.
The team is all volunteer and donation funded.
Schmidt says they do multiple fundraisers a year.
"This year we did our first annual helicopter ball drop which worked out really well and we hope to make that an even bigger event next year," said Schmidt.
The trainings typically last three hours, and Schmidt says they are always looking for new people to join.