AMR lifeguards kick off River Rescue program this weekend - KPTV - FOX 12

AMR lifeguards kick off River Rescue program this weekend

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TROUTDALE, OR (KPTV) -

People headed to the beach Sunday to cool off, as the holiday weekend got a little hotter.

American Medical Rescue’s River Rescue program kicked off this weekend, and people can now find lifeguards at both High Rocks and Glenn Otto Park.

Lifeguards told FOX 12, by the afternoon, they had already rescued one person from High Rocks.

“It’s freezing,” said Leah Gordon, a field training officer with AMR’s River Rescue Team. “We were swimming in it and it was about 48, 49 degrees when we’re swimming in it this morning. That’s like brain freeze water.”

Lifeguards are warning people to be prepared, because the water is still cold.

On hot days like Sunday, lifeguards say they can be saving at least a dozen people — from each park — who aren’t prepared for the tricky factors of swimming in a cold river like Sandy.

Out at Glenn Otto, people encountered a swampy pond in the pathway to the beach. 

Lifeguards told FOX 12 the Columbia River is backed up, causing the pool of water, but say it’s made things a bit safer on the Sandy River. There was hardly any current Sunday.

“Luckily, my kids aren’t very adventurous when it comes to the water. They only go in a little bit, but they know the rules. You swim safely, and be careful, and stay with mom,” said Mallory Wade, who was at the beach with her children.

The river was looking more like a lake Sunday, but lifeguards know that’ll all change in a couple weeks.

The water level will drop, they say, and the current will pick up.

“Don’t overestimate your ability. The river is very strong, and very swift,” said Gordon.

Accidents, lifeguards say, are preventable, and they have the tools to help folks be prepared.

People can borrow life jackets while they’re out at these two parks this summer. 

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