Emergency responders practice swift-water rescue

By Curtis Riggs | May 13, 2009

1972 flood simulated
CAVE CREEK – Tuesday morning Emergency responders prepared for what the next monsoon could bring by simulating a swift-water rescue in Galloway Wash at Spur Cross Road.

Cave Creek Town Marshal Adam Stein headed up the countywide event, which began in Cave Creek.

flood preprareThe 911 call about a car in the wash came at 8:30 a.m. Soon Rural/Metro fire trucks and ambulances were on scene as were MCSO deputies and Desert Foothills Posse members.

The simulation was of an actual flood, which occurred in the north Valley in 1972. Stein said this flood was used as a model as the heavy rains brought flows of 10,000 cubic feet per second (C.F.S.) to local washes as well as to Indian Bend Wash in Scottsdale.

Stein considered the 10,000-C.F.S. flow typical of what can occur in the Cave Creek water shed since the 2005 Cave Creek Complex Fire denuded the slopes to the north.

“That’s powerful enough to wash away many large vehicles,” Stein said.

For good measure the simulation of a micro burst in Carefree occurred at the same time the simulation of the closing of Galloway Wash took place.

The Cave Creek Emergency Mobil Command Center was also used in the emergency simulations.

“It is important to make sure that everyone can respond well to emergencies and the response is seamless,” Stein said. Volunteers were there to make sure the different agencies showed up to do their jobs.

Stein said the emergency drill went well on Tuesday and that all agency responses were adequate.

Emergency responders typically have to perform at least one swift-water rescue in Cave Creek every monsoon season.

Stein said the rescues are needed because drivers “aren’t thinking” and drive into flooded washes when they shouldn’t.

PHOTO: Rural/Metro firefighters enter Galloway Wash on Tuesday in a countywide swift-water rescue preparedness drill to rescue a simulated stranded motorist. Rural/Metro, Town of Cave Creek, Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff’s Posse members participated in the Cave Creek drill, which simulated a 1972 flood.
Photo by Curtis Riggs