About 30 Northwest Fire and Rescue District firefighters gathered at a local pool last week for exercises in advance of their trip to the Gila River near Winkleman to train for swiftwater rescues.

The firefighters, who are already certified as hazardous materials technicians, are involved in a five-week training program to become certified in technical rescue and serve on the Southern Arizona Rapid Response Team.

In the coming weeks, the firefighters’ training will include confined space, building collapse and trench rescues.

The Rapid Response Teams provide an “all-hazards” response to natural and man-made disasters anywhere in the Arizona.

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