Valley firefighters stressing water safety as warmer weather approaches

Ana Torrea Image
Saturday, May 11, 2024
Valley firefighters stressing water safety as warmer weather approaches
Temperatures will climb toward the 90s this weekend, sending people to Valley lakes and rivers to beat the heat.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Temperatures will climb toward the 90s, sending people to Valley lakes and rivers to beat the heat for the weekend.

But first responders have a warning to about the dangers underneath the inviting water.

Valley firefighters are warning people to take precautions during a busy weekend on the water.

"All family members should try and have PFDs, which are personal flotation devices, or some sort of life jackets," said Captain James Eggleston with Fresno County Fire and CAL FIRE.

Station 87 in Southeast Fresno and Station 72 in Millerton Lake are where the water rescue teams are based.

Eggleston said they've already seen an increase in water rescues. That's why firefighters train year-round.

"We want to train for the inevitable and hopefully that never happens," said Eggleston. "Especially with Mother Nature and water, there are all kinds of variables."

Captain Eggleston said they're going to be doing drills to get more firefighters qualified for these types of calls. He adds, they'll also be doing refreshers to help get them ready for the summer season.

Just days before Mother's Day, a trip to the river ended in tragedy for a Central California family.

First responders in Stanislaus and Merced counties worked together to search for a mother, who was swept away earlier this week trying to save her drowning daughter.

"She saw that her 11-year-old daughter was having a hard time keeping her head above water," said Sergeant Veronica Esquivez with the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Office.

"She went into help daughter, but then she began having trouble staying above water."

Duran's teenage son then tried to jump in and help them.

Deputies said the two siblings made it out safely and were treated on scene.

Multiple agencies, including the Merced County Sheriff's Office, were called out on Thursday to look for Duran.

On Friday morning, deputies continued the search. But the river can be a challenge.

"(The river) can change, especially this time of year," said Sergeant Esquivez. "When we get all the water from the mountains coming down to us, that's something we can't predict."

Because Mother Nature can be unpredictable, both Eggleston and the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Office stress, that you don't hang in or around the lakes and rivers alone.

You should always make sure someone is with you before getting into the water.

For news updates, follow Ana Torrea on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Related Topics