Sunny days in Oregon mean start of busy season for Search and Rescue crews
LANE COUNTY, Ore. - The warmest days the the year so far are upon us, with highs reaching the eighties by mid-week. While it's a breath of fresh air for most of us, Lane County Search and Rescue is getting ready for the busy season.
The Search and Rescue crew has already saved several people from Oregon lakes and rivers this year, and they have a few warning for these nice spring days ahead.
Without a single cloud on the horizon, the water looks mighty fine in Lane County. For Lane County Search and Rescue, that means it's time to text out their boats that are fresh out of the shop ahead of what could be a busy season.
For one, springtime means the first time on the water this year for a lot of folks, and two, the weather is deceptive because while it's in the seventies on land, we're talking about temperatures in the forties in lakes and rivers.
Search and rescue coordinator Tim Chase says that if you were to fall in that water, the danger is after the initial shock, when it becomes a race against the clock.
"You have about one minute to get your breath under control, and you have about 10 minutes of real useful swimming to try to get yourself in a stable position," said Chase, the Search and Rescue coordinator with Lane County. "After that, really you're going to have to wait for somebody to come help you."
Chase says that the best precaution is to wear a life jacket -- every boat is required to have one for every person on board.
"It's just like the seat belt in your car," said Chase. "You don't ever plan to get in an accident, but you're wearing your seat belt just in case. When you're on a boat, you should wear your life jacket just in case something happens."
Chase says it's important to know the water, and not to go out in conditions beyond your skill level. On rivers, always be looking downstream and be prepared to adjust to hazards, and be sure to always let someone at home know where you're going, just in case things go awry.
The Sheriff's Office is taking donations now for their life jacket exchange, and they're looking for kids-sized life vests to give to other kids in the county who need them. That exchange is the first weekend of June.