San Francisco first responders prepare for ocean rescues ahead of summer

San Francisco fire crews are preparing for the very real possibility of ocean rescues as the summer travel season draws near. 

Firefighter water rescue crews practiced with a simulated rescue off Ocean Bach Thursday, even calling in a Sonoma County Sheriff's helicopter. The aim, getting real-world experience to prepare for the day when a surfer or swimmer actually needs their help. 

"Because when, not if, these rescue swimmers have to actually do this with a real live victim, they'll be able to do it with a lot more ease than if they did not get this opportunity," said Johnathan Baxter from San Francisco Fire Department. 

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First responders said in an emergency, it is critical for those on the beaches to look for landmarks to help guide crews where to respond when minutes count and keep an eye on where the victim is. 

"Or better yet, designate someone else to do that and then flag the first responders down and point out where you last saw them," said Justin Wong from the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management. "Don't try to rescue the person yourself."

San Francisco first responders are advising potential visitors that San Francisco's beaches are not ideal places for people to swim in. They remind people that people have drowned at this location, and are advising people to swim at locations where there are lifeguards on duty.