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Rural Metro Fire lists the 3 biggest river dangers

Rural Metro Fire crews say they've seen a decrease in drownings this year compared to previous years but still warn people of the dangers of the river.

Posted: Aug 25, 2019 6:17 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore.,--With more hot days in the forecast, hundreds of people will be turning to the Rogue River to stay cool, but there's a few things to keep in mind. Rural Metro Fire's J Turnbull says that the 3 biggest killers in a river are:

1. The Current

"The river is relentless, the current is relentless, so even if your strong, even if you have great endurance you're not going to be able to out power the river," says Turnbull.

2. Foot Entrapment

"If you try to stand up in that, your feet can become entrapped in rocks or brushes and with the current pushing on you it's going to pin you down and your best case scenario is getting stuck with your airway above the water," said Turnbull.

3. Strainers

"It's basically, by definition, an object that allows water to move through it but a human body can't so you can imagine in a flood scenario a chain link fence would be a strainer. In more of an environment like this, we have trees that have fallen into the river becoming strainers,"

Turnbull is a Rescue 3 International Instructor. He says that a lot of these hazards can be avoided by being aware of your surroundings and wearing a life jacket.

Rural Metro says drowning incidents are down from previous years in their area of coverage. Rural Metro responds to water rescues in the Rogue River all the way from the Jackson/Josephine county line to Whiskey Creek. Austin Prince with Rural Metro fire says that, luckily, most of the rescues they've responded to this summer have been near-misses.

"With near misses, that could be anything that's an almost occurrence. I mean they could have been real close, a person fell out of a boat, they were struggling, someone grabbed them and pulled them in the boat, never called 911 and they could have been just fine," said Prince.

Prince says on average, 3 or 4 people drown every summer in his area of coverage. 

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