Naperville Fire Department Conducts Two Water Rescues in DuPage River

Swift Water Rescues and River Advisory

At 4:05 p.m. on Friday May 15, Naperville’s Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) received a call for the swift water rescue in the DuPage River near Melody Ln. Naperville 911(PSAP) dispatched a water rescue response which brought multiple swift water technicians, an Incident Commander and Incident Safety Officer to the reported location. Approximately 36 minutes later at 4:41 p.m. a second swift water box was initiated for the report of more people in the water in need of rescue near the 500 block of S. Washington St.

Within 5 minutes of the first call Engine 7 with swift water technicians arrived on scene and in coordination with other fire department personnel were able to assist 2 people out of the river. While packing up their equipment, the second water rescue was called in when individuals near the river saw a someone go under water on the river near the 500 block of S. Washington St. One member from Engine 7 was able to dive into the river and rescue the individual from under water and bring them to safety. 

The Naperville Fire Department was assisted on the scene by the Naperville Police Department, and the Lisle-Woodridge Fire Protection District. Station Coverage was provided by the Plainfield Fire Protection District. All individuals were evaluated on scene and required no further medical attention. There were no injuries to any firefighters at either event.  

“As fun as a canoe or kayak trip can appear to be, the facts are that the DuPage River has many obstructions and currents caused by the sudden rise in water levels and underwater objects that are not always visible," said Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis. "When water levels rise suddenly due to excessive rainfalls, it is strongly advised to stay clear of the river and observe its beauty from a distance. Don’t take a chance. Put river safety first throughout this spring and summer season in Naperville.”

River safety tips include:

  • Water that appears calm on the surface may have a current below the surface.
  • Do not underestimate the power of an unseen current.
  • If you are caught in a current and are being swept away, roll over on your back and go downstream feet first to avoid hitting your head.
  • When you are out of the strongest part of the current, swim straight towards shore.
  • Don’t try to swim against a current if caught in one.
  • Swim gradually out of the current by swimming across it.

If participating in water activities, a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD) should always be worn. Illinois law states that all children under the age of 13 must wear a PFD on vessels less than 26 feet in length. A strong hydraulic force created by water flowing downward over an object, then reversing its flow can trap and hold a person under the water. If you are caught in a hydraulic, do not fight it - swim to the bottom and then swim out with the current to reach the surface. Also make note of the dangerous “toos” before engaging in summer water activities. These include being too tired, too cold, too far from safety, having too much sun, too much to drink, and participating in too much strenuous activity.  

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