El Paso County search, water rescue team focus on training during peak season

Border Report

It's that time of year, when the search and rescue team in the county said they work hardest to prepare for possible water rescues or recoveries.

As the number of bodies discovered in border canals continues to increase, search and rescue teams are boosting their training especially during the summer.

“Here, you can kind of see the speed a little bit but underneath the water at the very bottom, you can’t imagine how fast this is going. These canals are designed to move water and that’s what they’re doing,” Kris Menendez, Chief of the El Paso County Search and Rescue team told KTSM.

It’s that time of year, when the search and rescue team in the county said they work hardest to prepare for possible water rescues or recoveries.

“Summer, when the demand for water rescues are high, is when we actually come out here and do these trainings to get everyone trained up and familiar with the area, familiar with the terrain, and familiar with the water flow,” Menendez said.

Throughout the years, the city and county have seen fluctuating numbers of migrants cross the border. Some of who need to be rescued in canals.

“We have our ups and our downs throughout the years. Back in 2006 we saw an increase in water rescues and it kind of slowed down a little bit which was great,” Menendez shared, “But this year we have seen an increase throughout the county and of course throughout the city of El Paso.”

Usually, the surface of the water current tends to be misleading, but underneath it moves at higher speeds. The search and rescue team wears protective gear that they must have on while training or executing a rescue, but they do urge the public to just stay away from water canals for your safety.

“We get trained up on this and know the hazards of the water. Someone who doesn’t know what those hazards are, we would ask them to respect the water, maintain their distance, and make sure that their family and loved ones are out of harms way.”

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