It may not rain often, but when it does, the consequences can be dire in our area with its numerous waterways. Despite this potential for flooding, swift-water rescue resources have been limited until now– thanks to a POWER UP grant and the Marion Volunteer Fire Department (VFD).

Marion VFD Captain Chris Foerster and Assistant Chief Joseph Rodriguez have created a cooperative swift-water rescue team along with other emergency personnel in the area.

First, they coordinated swift-water training; then they applied for a POWER UP grant to help purchase a specialized rescue boat.

Foerster says when it floods, water can rise quickly and the longer it takes to get a rescue team to the scene, the greater the risk to victim and rescuer. The nearest rescue teams were 45 miles away in San Antonio and 65 miles away in Travis County. That’s why the Marion VFD took the initiative to form a local team for the benefit of everyone—not just Marion residents.

In addition to specialized training, the boat improves safety across the county by enabling the rescuers to get to places they may not otherwise be able to reach. This lifesaving boat may not be used all the time, but during a flood it will be a big asset in saving lives.

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The team is called for mutual aid help and assigned to Squad 3 from Texas Task Force 2 Urban Search and Rescue. They were able to reach areas of the river only accessible by boat due to swift currents, allowing the Alamo Area SAR K9 team to search.

These volunteers are dedicated to protecting the County, requiring ongoing training and re-certification. the rescue team includes personnel from the Marion, New Berlin, Kingsbury and Sand Hills VFDs.

As the water rises, the rescue team gets to the scene just in time. They rescued the driver before the truck was pushed deeper into Santa Clara Creek.

The team gets ready to launch their boat south of IH-35 to assist the San Marcos Fire Department in evacuating residents in the Blanco Gardens neighborhood.


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