SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) --With El Nino and a long rainy season still ahead for Southern California, Orange County first responders prepared for swiftwater rescues.
The Anaheim Fire Department put its rescue team through some realistic training in the Santa Ana riverbed.
A rescue helicopter circled above as fire engines rushed to the riverbed Wednesday afternoon. Emergency crews responded to a radio call of a man caught in dangerous flood waters. The team hasn't gone on many of these types of calls because of the drought.
But as the potential for big storms looms, they practiced for the worst.
Multiple fire departments and Orange County Fire Authority participated in the swiftwater rescue drill.
Sgt. Daron Wyatt, the public information officer for the Anaheim police and fire departments, said they received three rescue calls during the storms last week.
The departments urge people to stay away from flood channels, but offer advice if anyone were to get stuck.
"Get your back to the water, to where you're actually flowing downstream, your feet are pointing downstream. It's important because there's a lot of debris in the riverbed," Wyatt said.
He said to try and move toward one side of the wash to help rescuers get to you. For these firefighters, Wednesday's drill helped them get ready for what is expected to be a busy El Nino season.
"To actually do a walkthrough in a non-emergency environment, it definitely helps us prepare for the inevitable consequences of something like this happening," Anaheim Fire Capt. Michael Byard said.
Another piece of advice from rescuers - never jump in to help if you see someone get stuck in the waters. Instead, you should immediately call 911.