Water rescue crews trained to overcome the challenges they face on a daily basis

SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – It has been two days since a young man drowned while swimming at Lake Afton.

It involved a nearly three hour search by water rescue crews to find the victims body.

Captain Guillermo Jaso works with the Water Technical Rescue Team at Station 32 for the Sedgwick County Fire Department.

He has spent the past 13 years racing to many water rescue crews.

Capt. Jaso says most of the calls they get come during the summer months, when people are out enjoying some fun in the sun.

He says they train constantly, to be ready at a moments notice.

“When it is nice like this, we are getting out there almost every other shift, we’ve got one of our crews, one of our shifts going out to different body’s of water, whether it is FOP Lake, Lake Afton, different sand pits,” said Capt. Jaso.

He says they specialize in many aspects of water rescue, like swift water, scuba and structural collapse search and rescues.

Even with plenty of experience under his belt, Capt. Jaso admits, his job hasn’t gotten any easier.

“The hard part is finding out where exactly we are going to dive first, finding the point last seen, getting a lot of the information from the witnesses,” said Capt. Jaso.

Whether it’s day or night, Capt. Jaso says there are several challenges that come with the job.

“I’ve been on the rescue team for a while and I’ve been on numerous dive calls and never been on one where we good see, your touching, your feeling whatever we are diving with your hands and your feet sometimes,” said Capt. Jaso.

Capt. Jaso says they work side by side with the Wichita Fire Department as part of a joint rescue team.

“It just gets it done faster, better, more efficient,” said Capt. Jaso.

For those who are planning to enjoy the holiday by the water, Capt. Jaso does offer some water safety tips.

He says be aware of what is going on around you and always swim with a buddy.

Capt. Jaso says it is also wise to have, what he calls a designated watcher, to make sure everybody is safe while enjoying some fun in the water.


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