County firefighters received swift water rescue operations training in March 2017.
County firefighters received swift water rescue operations training in March 2017.

Behind the Scenes: Training County of SLO Firefighters

Author: County of SLO Fire Department
Date: Thursday, June 22, 2017 9:21 AM

Get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the training courses County of SLO firefighters take to ensure that they have the skills to perform in a variety of emergency situations.


The County of San Luis Obispo Fire Department Training Division ensures that first responders are properly certified with all of latest safety and operational requirements. The training received at County training facilities translates into enhanced performance and smoother operations at all levels during actual emergencies. 

Swift Water Rescue Training 

The annual Swift Water Rescue Operations course was held at the Nacimiento River on March 21-23, 2017. With the current flood control releases from Lake Nacimiento, the spillway CFS (cubic feet per second) flow provided an invaluable training environment to hold the class locally. The class begins with rescue swimming and provides basic lifeguarding techniques in static and dynamic (swift) water conditions. Over the 3-day class, Firefighters perform many skills utilizing the rescue equipment complement carried on engines and rescues. The skills include throw bags, tensioned rope rescue ferry lines for moving people across in the water or in inflatable boats, and techniques for rescuing people stranded in a low water crossing which are common across the county. The class concludes with scenarios where firefighters are tested on how they perform the taught techniques and Swift Water Rescue incident command. 

Chainsaw Safety Training

Firefighters have to be qualified to operate a chainsaw. This hands-on field training is designed to elevate the student’s skill level and understanding of chain saw operations including: falling, bucking and climbing procedures. 

Basic Rescue Skills Training

This course meets the State Fire Marshal requirements for OES engine crew personnel. The class contains an introduction to Urban Search and Rescue planning and operations, Rescue Scene organization and management, rescuer safety and various rescue systems, ladder systems, lifting and moving heavy objects, emergency building shores, breaching and breaking, and basic rope rescue. Learning to rappel for over the side rescues is part of this class. 

Vehicle Extraction Training

This course provides hands-on experience in the procedures and systems utilized during an automobile extrication. Subjects covered include: Auto extrication, types of hand and power tools, removing windows, opening doors, removing roofs, pulling steering wheels, moving foot pedals, raising dashboards, pulling seats, stabilization of vehicles, and simulated rescues of trapped victims.