PF&R advice on staying safe near water this Memorial Day weekend


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With the long weekend ahead and great weather in the forecast, Portland Fire & Rescue crews expect a lot more people to head to the water.

This means the potential for more water rescues and other heat-related medical events.

Fire officials remind everyone that all boaters under the age of 13 in Oregon are required to wear a life jacket. Parents must make sure life jackets are appropriate for the activity and fit properly, said PF&R Spokesperson Tommy Schroeder.

More than half of all drownings in 2020 could have been prevented had people been wearing a properly-fitted life preserver, Schroeder said.

If you plan to swim, Schroeder said to avoid waterways and stay away from public boat docks and ramps.

“People are going to be rushing to the rivers,” Schroeder said. “We have a lot of great small beaches in Portland we have a lot of docks people can swim off of. The important thing is to know your limits. A lot of poeple maybe won’t necessarily realize there is a strong current in the Wilamette and Columbia Rivers. They should always take a partner just in case they do get into trouble.”

Schroeder also expects a lot of people to get dehydrated this weekend and reminds everyone that it is important to drink lots of water and reduce alcohol consumption, which decreases hydration and leads to folks making less coherent decisions.

Schroeder reminds everyone to protect their pets by not leaving them in hot cars.

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