With Hot Weather Comes Dangerous Derring-do In Water

Jun 24, 2015

With near triple-digit temperatures forecast for the weekend in many parts of Oregon, people will seek relief in local rivers and lakes. KLCC's Rachael McDonald asked Lane County Search and Rescue Coordinator Tim Chase for some tips on water safety.

The Willamette River at Autzen footbridge in Eugene.
Credit Rachael McDonald

Chase says it's essential to wear a life jacket. He says if you fall in the water, it buys you time.

Chase: "It takes a while for people to find out that there's a problem and get to you to rescue you so that life jacket will just keep your head above water long enough to have somebody have the chance to get you out of the water."

Chase says while the temperatures will be hot outside, the water in local rivers and lakes is cold.

Chase: "So if you go from that hot environment and jump into cold water it can cause a sudden shock to your body, it can really make you gasp all of a sudden, and if you happen to gasp while your face is underwater, then that can have catastrophic results."

An underwater root ball in the middle fork Willamette at Clearwater Park in Springfield is blamed for two recent deaths. Chase says to be aware of hazards in the water and plan ahead.

Chase anticipates a busy summer for search and rescue but he hopes people will take precautions that can save their lives.

The Lane County Sheriff's Office is having a life jacket exchange this weekend (June 27-28) at Cabela's in Springfield.