By Michael Abeyta

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– On a 90-plus degree day, West Metro Firefighters are jumping into Clear Creek.

“We have a department-wide training to familiarize and get everybody re-engaged with water safety and how to rescue people out of water,” explains Engineer/Paramedic Ivan Soto.

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That’s because right now conditions on the river are perfect for tragedy.

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“The spring and summertime are a time when people like to be around water and it’s also a time when the levels of water in rivers and creeks goes up with snowmelt so we have an increase in the possibility of someone being dragged off by the currents,” said Soto.

Ivan Soto (credit: CBS)

Even if the water seems safe, firefighters point out often times it is what is underneath the surface that can hurt you.

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“You could have your foot being trapped in the rocks, you could have barbed wire underneath the water that will trap you and obviously cause severe bodily damage or cause you to be entangled and not able to get out. The current as slow as it may seem a lot of times is very deceptive as it can show a slow current on the top but a faster current in other levels of the water.”

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Soto says that if you really must get into the water, find a place deemed safe and cleared of rocks and debris. Also help yourself out by wearing the right gear.

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“Wearing a personal floatation device that is coast guard rated, if you will, is really one of the best things anybody can do.”

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Michael Abeyta is a 4th generation Coloradan and a Multimedia Journalist for CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 5 & 6. He is on Twitter! Follow him @AbeytaCBS4.

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