BAKERSFIELD, Calif., On November 29, 2023, at 12:59 p.m. Kern County firefighters were dispatched to a report of a vehicle submerged in a canal in the area of Taft Hwy and S. H St. Upon their arrival, firefighters found a pickup truck with the front end submerged in the canal and the driver still inside. Thankfully, the occupant of the vehicle was above water.
This canal rescue emergency prompted a reinforced rescue response from the KCFD. This response included USAR 47, an Urban Search and Rescue vehicle. This specialized equipment requires highly trained firefighters to utilize its capabilities. The nearest station to the canal rescue just so happened to be station 47, the station with the USAR vehicle.
Jumping into action, firefighters utilized the USAR’s winch and specialty tools to secure the vehicle and prevent it from rolling or being moved by the canal’s current. A rescuer was sent onto the vehicle to make contact with the victim and assess injuries. Overcoming a language barrier and the awkward position of the vehicle, the firefighters determined that the patient was alert, had only suffered minor injuries and would need to be carried out.
A ladder was placed on the ground, down the bank, to secure their footing. Using a tarp, firefighters carried the patient out of the vehicle and up to safety.