By Steven Sandberg
SHADY COVE, Ore. — Water rescue teams are on high alert as the hot temperatures drive more people to area lakes and rivers.
Rescue teams say the Rogue River can be a dangerous waterway when people aren’t prepared. Fire District 4 in Shady Cove says it only sends its rescue boat out during an actual emergency call, so people on the river need to know ahead of time what could be dangerous.
One of the biggest concerns are rocks under the surface, logs and trees, swift rapids, and islands. Fire and rescue officials say any one of them can be enough to knock someone off of a raft and pull them under the surface.
“People believe that you can bounce off something when you hit it with a raft, and in turn the river drives you into it and holds you there. You can’t drift down and bounce off things, you have to stay away from obstacles in the river,” explains Shady Cove Fire Chief Bob Miller.
Fire officials say because it was a late spring, some people may not be aware of how high and how fast the Rogue River is still running in July. Fire District 4 says a number of its water rescues are in the upper Rogue River where there is spotty cell phone reception. They say if someone is having a water emergency, anyone nearby should call 911 as quickly as possible to get those emergency crews and emergency boats on scene.