Cal Fire holding water rescue training this week in Pismo Beach

Firefighters, lifeguards taking part in training

Cal Fire holding water rescue training this week in Pismo Beach

PISMO BEACH, Calif. - Rescue crews were in the water all day Tuesday along the Pismo Beach coastline, just south of the pier.

However, there was no emergency.

Instead, firefighters were in action, taking part in a training session happening for much of this week.

"They're practicing one to two person pick-offs," said Cal Fire public information officer Adan Orozco. "They are simulating a swimmer in distress or a surfer in distress and the maneuvers on how to rescue them with our watercraft."

Today was the first of three days worth of training for crew members with the Cal Fire Pismo Beach and Shell Beach stations.

For several hours, firefighters on personal watercraft and surfboards practiced rescue operations that simulated distressed swimmers and surfers.

It's a training event the Cal Fire San Luis Obispo County Fire Department holds three times each year.

"The importance of the training is to stay refreshed on the skills and train new lifeguards in the skills as well, so we're ready to go when an incident may take place," Orozco said.

The weather for much of the day was overcast with low visibility, which created more difficult training conditions.

Despite the foggy weather, it did provide firefighters with a real-life setting that is typically seen in Pismo Beach, especially during the summertime.

"On low visibility days, it is kind of hard to see people that are out swimming," said Orozco. "That's why we have multiple lifeguard towers and multiple lifeguards on staff and just have extra eyes out there and practicing in those conditions will help them in those situations."

About 10 firefighters are taking part in this week's training, including Pismo Beach lifeguards, who are also involved in the operations.

Orozco added the water rescue exercises were not the only training exercises taking place in the county on Tuesday.

"We also have personnel training today at the San Luis Obispo Airport on confined space rescue with our Rescue 21," Orozco said.

The one-day confined space training included several other emergency agencies from around San Luis Obispo County.

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