LANE COUNTY, Ore.- The weather is getting warmer and people are ready to take advantage of the beautiful waterways our area has to offer. Unfortunately, water rescue teams are out every year responding to deaths and near drownings.
"When you jump in, the first thing you do is gasp. That gulp, that's usually what gets people in trouble because when they jump in the water and take that in, they are taking water in and so that's how a lot of people drown," said Deputy Paul Vitus with Lane County Search and Rescue.
Agencies have limited resources and rescue crews available if you get in trouble. If you do get in trouble outdoors, you can help rescuers help you by having time on your side.
"Keep hydrated. Carry munchies, granola bars, peanuts. Light jacket because our weather changes a lot. Carry matches if they need to build a fire," Vitus said.
Little rain is causing river levels to drop, which gives rise to other obstacles.
"The water flushes things down stream branches, trees and what not. A lot of stuff is under the water and a lot of trees fall in and so you have to prepared that strong currents are going to push you in to that debris," said Vitus.
Vitus says the most important thing to remember is be prepared and make smart choices. Innocent fun can quickly turn dangerous. Knowing the current water conditions can be a matter of life and death.