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Reno Fire Department warns of hazards with the river



With the warmer weather conditions, snow will be melting from the mountains into the Truckee River, making for faster currents, higher waters and very cold temperatures.

“Even though the outside temperatures are getting warmer, the river still is very cold and can be extremely dangerous,” advises Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez. “Individuals rafting, fishing, wading, swimming, or participating in other water-related activities should take proper precautions.”

According to Reno Fire Department’s Water Entry Team (WET), swift water flow can carry a person away quickly, and the temperature of the water can quickly lead to hypothermia which can incapacitate anyone who ventures into or falls into the river, overcoming their swimming skills and ultimately lead to drowning.

Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature is dramatically lowered. Among other results, there is a loss of strength and muscular coordination as well as mental confusion and often erratic behavior.

With higher water and faster flow, the Reno Fire Department’s WET says there is also an increased hazard from debris that is washed into the river and, often unseen, can strike someone causing them to lose their footing in the swift water or render them unconscious.

The Reno Fire Department’s WET encourages the public to take the following precautions:

• Avoid prolonged exposure to the cold water of the river which can lead to hypothermia.
• Never allow children to enter the water alone, be aware of the cold water conditions which can quickly affect children, and make sure children wear personal floatation devices if they are allowed to enter the water.
• Boaters, rafters and kayakers are encouraged to thoroughly check the condition of the river including temperature and flows before entering the river. At the very least, boaters, rafters and kayakers should wear a personal flotation device. They should also wear helmets and adequate thermal protection.
• Make sure children are under constant supervision and keep them away from the riverbank where they can easily fall into the river, or where riverbank erosion can result in the bank caving into the river.
• All pedestrians, including joggers and walkers, should stay on established pathways and trails and away from the edge of the riverbank.
• If you see someone fall into the river, immediately call 9-1-1. DO NOT attempt a rescue by entering the water. A rope or flotation device such as an inflated toy or sports ball, or even a Styrofoam ice chest can be thrown to the victim to assist them.

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