All hands were on deck earlier Wednesday as the National Guard, along with Morton County first responders, conducted search and rescue training. KX got an inside look at the training.
“So there’s a lot of major tributaries and rivers that go through the county right next to the Missouri River. So I mean it’s important for us to be kind of on our toes ready to go when that call does come in,” shared Cody Mattson, the emergency manager for Morton County.
North Dakota National Guardsman piled into these 15-man inflatable watercraft and moved along the Crown Butte Lake practicing for a search and rescue mission.
“We have 20 of these zodiac boats is what we call them. They’re essentially an inflatable combat assault craft. And that really is the agile boat that sometimes these more rural counties don’t have a dive team, they don’t have the small boat capabilities to get into some of these lower, or these waterways,” shared Capt. Justin Johnson, the Commander of the 957 Engineer Company with the North Dakota National Guard.
Some of the major aspects of nature taken into consideration during the training were the Missouri River’s strong current, high water levels, levee breaches and flooding.
“You know, they’re trained in how do we attack essentially knowing everything about that river. The flow rate, where the water’s going how to find the key points of that river that may be able to house a safe harbor for someone if someone were to be swept away in the river, maybe where would they go for safety,” shared Johnson.
If you find yourself in the water the main thing is to not panic, as this will cause you to become exhausted and go under.
Another tip is float instead of swim unless you are in moving water, then you would swim with the current.
“A lot of lakes where, you know, there’s a lot of recreational activity going on. Somebody could have fallen in and then that call comes into us that we have a victim that needs to be rescued,” shared Mattson.
Using the warmer weather to their advantage, the National Guard conducts training like this at least five times a year.
Throughout the entire week, the National Guard has been teaming up with multiple agencies for vigilant guard exercises across the state.