Rescue crews demo new tools for waterway emergencies in Portland area
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Gresham and Corbett Fire, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and American Medical Response will have new tools as they prepare for water rescues on the Columbia and Sandy Rivers this summer.
Emergency crews say wearing a life jacket is the most important thing anyone can do when they’re around the water. Already this year, there have been at least four drownings statewide and to keep that number from rising, crews say the new tools will help them locate people faster and get out to a rescue faster.
“It’ll take your breath away quick, it’ll make you cramp up quicker. The water is rather murky this time of year because there’s a lot of runoff, so it makes it difficult to see,” says Captain Travis Soles, Gresham Fire.
They will have a drone that can drop up to six pounds of supplies and equipment into the water. New this year, a personal watercraft that is faster and can launch from more areas than a raft.
“Previously we had a rescue boat that once the water level dropped below a certain point we couldn’t even put the rescue boat on this sandy river,” says Capt. Soles. “It’s giving us accessibility option along with the drone to be able to find people access them. Get help to them immediately instead of trying to hike in from miles through the woods.”
They also have Aqua Eye, a scanner that can scan as far as 65 ft. out and down to help in recovery operations.
“It starts to move the numbers, and the odds, a little closer to being on our side,” says Chief Rick Wunsch, Corbett Fire.
Beginning May 27, AMR will have lifeguards on duty at Glen Otto Park in Troutdale.
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