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DNR releases video of Wisconsin flood rescues

LA FARGE, Wis. (WBAY) — We’re getting a first, up-close look at dramatic rescue operations during the recent floods in Vernon County.

Exclusive video from a chest camera worn by a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conservation warden shows he and another warden rescue residents from their flooded homes in La Farge.

“Come back here and just take a seat back here. Why don’t you sit right here, right in the middle,” states warden Ed McCann to a resident who just steps onto the boat McCann pulled up next to a flooded home.

The family and their dog are now safe from the floodwaters of the Kickapoo River, which is rising by the minute.

This was just one of the many rescues performed by DNR wardens Ed McCann and Shawna Stringham in Vernon County two weeks ago.

While we generally see the Coast Guard, National Guard or local sheriff’s departments in these rescue situations, DNR wardens have a lot of experience with their equipment in severe weather conditions.

“That’s kind of what will test their mettle. I mean, there’s always one step above of what you’re comfortable with, you’re getting pushed beyond your comfort zone, so your typical boater in the state of Wisconsin, when it comes to rain or wind, they’re not out there, we are,” says DNR Conservation Warden Supervisor Chris Groth, who oversees the Northeast Region.

Groth credits joint training with local police and sheriff’s departments for building trust in times of crisis.

“We’ve got really good working relationships here. They know our skill sets, we know their skill sets, they know what equipment we have, so we can very effectively look at a situation and say we need to have this here or this person here to do that type of job,” says Groth.

And in Vernon County, two wardens in a shallow draft boat made a critical difference.

“Why don’t you come back here and sit with your sister? That way you can hold here hand if she needs her hand held, OK?” Warden McCann says he rescues a mother and her two daughters.

“It’s protect and serve, that’s the bottom line mantra and you’re somebody in dire need, that just drives them, they don’t want to fail,” says Groth.

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