Use caution! 151 river rescues conducted last year

Crews are preparing ahead of the warm weekend

With thousands expected to head to the coast and rivers this weekend, crews are ready for the crowds and potential disasters that can come with them. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With thousands expected to head to the coast and rivers this weekend, crews are ready for the crowds and the potential disasters that can come with them.

At Glenn Otto Park along the Sandy River, crews practiced rescue techniques on Friday morning. The water is 53 degrees, about the same as the ocean.

“I can’t even count the amount of rescues I’ve had to make,” Mitch Dickey, a lead river rescue technician with American Medical Response tells KOIN 6 News.

“There’s so many different things that can happen out here, as far as the current moving, as fast as it is and just the different levels of hazards. We have to train for every possible scenario,” he says.

Last year, the AMR River Rescue Team pulled 151 people from the river. About 80% of those people said they had good swimming skills.

“Our number one recommendation is always wear a life jacket when in the water because that can keep you safe when you end up downstream, where you didn’t anticipate being,” Justine Kilsby, River Rescue Program Coordinator says.

That’s especially true this year. Even though the weather is nice, the cold winter makes the conditions worse.

“There’s a lot of water coming through right now, so the water levels are high, which in most cases means that the current is much faster than usual.”