SF Fire finishes training at Ocean Beach

May 15, 2009 5:44:34 PM PDT
The hot weather coming this weekend will surely attract people to Bay Area beaches. If your plans include Ocean Beach in San Francisco, keep in mind that its notorious rip tides can be dangerous.

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The deadliest year was 1998 when seven people drowned and since then, hundreds of people have been rescued.

San Francisco's ocean beach is a hot spot for locals and tourists, but its waters are some of the most dangerous in the United States.

San Francisco firefighters whose stations are close to the beach, were trained all this week on how to pull people out of the water.

The victim, in this case, one of the instructors, is caught in a rip current.

"It's important that these firefighters and officers have these skills, because now we can be sure that the National Park life guards have the assistant they need to be safe in performing rescues," said Battalion Chief Tom Abbott

The rescue takes a toll on these firefighters.

"Ocean Beach and beaches in Northern California are very unique, they have very strong currents and very strong tides. There are a lot of rip tides that form due to the sand bar formation," said Abbott.

They are concerned this weekend's warm weather will lure people into these waters. People have drowned because of the cold waters and strong currents pulling them away from the shore.

"I'll come out and enjoy the beach. I'll probably do another bike ride or two this weekend, but I am not going in the water. Around here you just know that these currents can go in a direction at any time, and there's just not a lot of good things out here," said San Francisco resident Ryan Ditez.

"Below the knee or just my feet, no I don't mess with it, unless it's Hawaii I don't mess with it, I don't mess with Ocean Beach," said San Francisco resident Thea Olmo.

Firefighters feel comfortable with their new skills. Hopefully they won't have to use them during the hot weekend.

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