Fire Department Performs Two Swift Water Rescues

NAPERVILLE, Ill. — At 10:14 AM on Sunday, June 24, 2018 Naperville’s Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) received a 911 call from a person who advised that he and his children had overturned their kayaks and were stranded in an unknown area of the DuPage River. PSAP immediately sent a locating “ping” to the caller’s cell phone and dispatched a rescue response assignment bringing 1 engine company, 2 truck companies, 1 squad company, 2 ambulances, 1 water rescue team vehicle, and 2 incident commanders to the scene. The assignment brought a total of 21 initial personnel to the incident. PSAP immediately requested a swift water rescue box alarm from MABAS Division 16 which brought additional swift water trained personnel and multiple shore support personnel to the scene as well.

Naperville Engine Company 6 arrived on scene within five minutes of the initial dispatch and attempted to find the exact location of the stranded citizens. Companies immediately began to search for access to the river and initiate operations to perform a swift water rescue. The caller and his two children were located in an outlet of the DuPage River behind Baybrook Lane. Recent heavy rainfall had caused a significant current in the area and the citizens were near an island, in the middle of the river, clinging to branches. Specially trained swift water rescue technicians from the Naperville Fire Department immediately entered the water and provided safety to the persons needing rescue. Three people were moved safely to the shore by the rescue technicians and evaluated for any medical issues by waiting paramedics.

At 12:53 PM on Sunday, June 24, 2018 Naperville’s PSAP received another 911 call from a person who stated there were two teenagers yelling for help holding onto an overturned raft near 95th Street and Knock Knolls Road. A rescue response assignment was again dispatched with crews arriving on scene within five minutes of the initial dispatch. PSAP immediately requested a swift water rescue box alarm from MABAS Division 16 which brought additional swift water rescue technicians to the scene. Naperville Truck Company 5 made visual contact with the two victims who had been able to make their way to the shore. Specially trained swift water technicians made contact with the victims and assisted them to safety. Both victims were assessed for any medical issues by waiting paramedics.

The Naperville Fire Department was assisted at the scene by the Lisle-Woodridge, Bolingbrook, and Warrenville fire agencies. Naperville Police Department personnel assisted on the scene with traffic control and crowd management. The Plainfield Fire Protection District provided station coverage during this incident.

The Naperville Fire Department would like to remind all citizens that recent rainfall has caused higher than usual water levels and stronger than usual currents in the river system. There are also many unseen obstacles that can cause a kayak to overturn. Citizens should stay off the DuPage River during this high water period. During normal water levels, extreme caution and vigilance should be exhibited. Novice level kayakers should not navigate the rivers alone and should have the guidance of an experienced navigator. Additionally, citizens are reminded that attempting to rescue another person in moving water is dangerous and should only be performed by specially trained swift water technicians. Witnesses should stay out of the water and locate responding fire department personnel as soon as possible to provide detailed information about the location of the victims.

About Naperville: Located 28 miles west of Chicago, Naperville, Ill., is home to approximately 145,000 people. This vibrant, thriving city consistently ranks as a top community in the nation in which to live, raise children and retire. The city is home to acclaimed public and parochial schools, the best public library system in the country, an array of healthcare options and an exceptionally low crime rate. Naperville has ready access to a variety of public transportation, housing and employment options. The city’s diversified employer base features high technology firms, retailers and factories, as well as small and home-based businesses. Residents also enjoy world-class parks, diverse worship options, the opportunity to serve on several City boards and commissions, a thriving downtown shopping and dining area, a renowned outdoor history museum known as Naper Settlement and an active civic community. For more information, please visit our website at