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Meridian Fire Department rescues girl from canal

She fell in after chasing ducks with her brother by the canal. She was treated and released to her parents.

MERIDIAN, Idaho — The Meridian Fire Department (MFD) rescued a girl that fell into a canal near Stoddard and Victory Road on Sunday around 2:00 p.m. According to the MFD two siblings were chasing ducks when one fell in the canal accidentally.

"They were on scene within minutes," Jordan Reese, deputy chief of operations for the Meridian Fire Department said. "You know, in a call like this, seconds matter."

Seconds matter - and that time was saved by someone driving by who saw the child fall into the Ridenbaugh Canal.

"Fortunately, a good Samaritan was passing by, saw this happen, and immediately called 911," Reese said.

Rescue crews found the young girl half a mile downstream of where she fell in. The childing was holding onto a grate on the side of canal, and first responders were able to pull her out.

The child was treated on-scene by Ada County Paramedics and released to their parents with no injuries.

Meridian Fire says this type of water rescue is fairly common.

"The reminder to parents is please don't let your children play near or in these canals," Reese said. "While the water may not look very dangerous, the current is moving extremely fast - especially this time of year with the water levels being what they are."

Fast currents, cold water, and steep, concrete sides are present in many of the area canals. 

"Even if you're a strong swimmer, you're just not going to be able to swim against these currents," Reese said. "It just takes one small slip, like in this instance, and you're gonna be floating downstream at the mercy of that current."

The City of Meridian requires new developments to put fencing up near canals, but other areas are not protected by a fence line.

"So we just need to be very vigilant about where we're allowing our kids to play, and educating them about these the dangers of these waterways," Reese said.

Meridian Fire says if you see someone fall into a canal, call 911 immediately. 

"I think that the initial instinct is to help and try to get them out, which is important. But most likely, they're going to be swept downstream very quickly, and it's important to get emergency responders on their way as soon as possible," Reese said.

MFD also say that when one of their crews was on the way to the call, some drivers didn't pull to the right when emergency vehicles were coming through. MFD is reminding drivers to pull to the right when they see the flashing lights and sirens of an emergency vehicle.

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