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NEWS | April 23, 2024

Idaho Guard, Firefighters Practice Water Hoist Rescues

By Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur, Idaho Army National Guard

BOISE, Idaho - The Idaho Army National Guard’s State Aviation Group and the Boise Fire Department’s Swiftwater Dive Team practiced hoist rescues from the water during exercises April 18-19 at a Boise pond.

The Guard used UH-60 Black Hawk and the UH-72A Lakota helicopters during the exercises. The training enables the Swiftwater Dive Rescue Team to become familiar with an aircraft’s hoist while in the water. 

Both agencies keep certified for joint operations like hoist rescue missions in swift water or floods through biannual training.

“The Guard has the air assets with lift and hoist capabilities, while we have the equipment and resources for environments like flooding waters,” said Capt. Mike Barbero, hoist team coordinator from the Boise Fire Department’s Swiftwater Dive Rescue Team. “It’s a perfect partnership of two organizations with specialized training and equipment to serve our community.”

The Idaho Army National Guard and the Boise Fire Department have worked together to rescue six people from floods in Weiser and Grangeville.

“The Idaho Army National Guard has been training with the Boise Fire Department for several years,” said Col. Granger Amthor, commander of the State Aviation Group. “We are progressively increasing the complexity of our rescue scenarios. This training was the first step in water rescue where the Idaho Army National Guard facilitated static water hoist training with our helicopters.”

Amthor said both entities hope to transition to swift water rescue for Idaho citizens.

“We value our partnerships with our civilian first responders,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Garshak, commanding general of the Idaho National Guard. “Training with the Boise Fire Department in new scenarios like the water hoist rescue allows us to be prepared when real-world emergencies arise so we can continue to best serve our citizens in times of need.”



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