Originally Posted by OregonRafter
To you it may look like a frustratingly slow rescue is taking place. To these guys they are looking at a stable scene and performing an extrication as safely as possible, which certainly does add complexity and time to the operation, but also diminishes most risk to the victem.
The process is slow because the fire dept. guys are not just thinking about the kid on the rock, they're obeying the first rule of a rescue - not to endanger oneself needlessly. These guys deal with getting injured people out of wrecked cars, going into burning buildings, and a whole lot of other dangerous situations every day. Every day those firemen are on the job, they're dealing with calculated risks. They know that if they start taking shortcuts in one aspect of their job, it's a slippery slope to a place where the law of probability will eventually catch up to either them or the victim.
Also, whitewater rescue is probably less than 5% of what they do over the course of a year and certainly not their day in and day out fare - it's just one more thing they do when called upon.
To put it another way, who wants to risk getting hurt on the job
getting a tuber off a rock in the middle of the river? Or botching the rescue and hurting the victim (especially with the cameras rolling).