Swift water rescue team on alert during rainy week

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SAN DIEGO -- As San Diego experiences a very wet weather week, the city's swift water rescue team is working hard to make sure they're prepared in a moment's notice.

Captain John Sandmeyer showed FOX 5 some problem spots in the Mission Valley area Wednesday, including Avenida Del Rio which is still blocked off after flooding earlier in the week.

His team of about 25 is already gearing up for a busy day on Thursday.

"Many times in the urban area we get called for vehicles, they get stuck in the intersections," Sandmeyer said.

He says that’s the most common call when roads begin to wash out, but pedestrian rescues are right up there as well when people try to cross through running water.

"Six inches cannot sweep you off your feet, a foot or more of water can move the vehicle," Sandmeyer said.

On Thursday, he predicts his team will break up into about nine or 10 squads spread out between the Tijuana River Valley, Mission Valley and Sorrento Valley. Each team will have three swift water technicians designated.

Wednesday was more of a planning day as the weather was not very active, but on Thursday the team will be on alert level three beginning early in the morning.

Alert level three means the squads won't be waiting for the rain to hit -- they'll be expecting it and already staged in several areas.

Sergeant Neal Collins with the lifeguard service also went over what types of items are kept in the swift water rescue team's units. From a boat to boards, ropes, paddles and throw bags, the team has quite a bit to work with.

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