PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – While people will try to beat this weekend’s heat wave by hitting local swimming spots, first responders are advising others to keep river safety top of mind.

A KOIN 6 News crew spent the day with first responders at the Clackamas River, which was unusually high for the time of year, because of late rain fall and low snow melt. On Friday, the river was at 13 feet and fast-moving.
Clackamas County Fire Department says without a life jacket, the conditions can be dangerous for even the strongest swimmers.

On Friday, KOIN 6 News saw some people enjoying the sunny weather on inner tubes, kayaks, rafts and paddle boards on the river near Barton Park. Most, but not all were wearing life jackets.

Fire fighter and paramedic, Mike Gasperson says if you are going to be out on the water this weekend, one of the biggest things is to know your limitations.

“Knowing your limitations means not doing things that are going to risk hurting yourself, killing yourself, killing others if they come after you to potentially rescue,” Gasperson said.

Gasperson also warns of the dangers of jumping into river off of rocks or bridges

Gasperson warned that when it comes to jumping off rocks, cliffs or bridges you do not know what is underneath the surface of the water. He also warns that cold water temperatures can also be dangerous and can take your breath away and can lead to drowning.
Gasperson also warns others of the dangers of drinking alcohol if you are in or around water.