First responders using James River's flood stage for water rescue training

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) --- The Richmond Fire Department Water Rescue team was out on the James River Tuesday for training.

With the water being above flood stage, the conditions offer a good training source for the department to maintain their readiness when dangerous calls come in.

Michael Oprandi is a Lieutenant with Richmond Fire and part of the team.

"At five feet and over you need to have a life jacket on to be in the river and then as the river continues to go up, we just ask people to respect the river," Oprandi said. "One of the things that is so dangerous about the river is it's unpredictability. And if you haven't researched what it's going to do for that day or that period of time, that's where we do catch a lot of our calls."

The water presents a danger, especially for those without much experience.

Following Monday's water rescue of a male kayaker, Richmond Fire wants people to pay attention to the conditions of the water -- even if things look calm in certain spots.

"You can go out and have it be at a certain level and in the matter of a couple hours it can be to the point where you're no longer able to get yourself back to shore," says Oprandi.

The river is expected to fall below flood stage Wednesday evening.

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