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Reminders for river safety this summer

Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services (LFES) want to remind everyone to be safe while using bodies of water in and around the city during the summer months.

The Oldman River is a very popular place to cool down, but before using the river there should be a few safety items to check off before you get on the water. Some reminders include:

  • LFES recommends Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs or life jackets) for all persons floating the river
  • Inspect PFDs to make sure they hold air. This should be done at home before going to the river bottom
  • Have a float plan. This should consist of where you plan to put in the river, where you will be getting off the river, how long the journey will/should take and who is with you. Make sure to leave this information with family or friends so they are aware you are on the river. Talk about your group’s swimming abilities so you know who strong swimmers and weak swimmers in your group are
  • Have footwear in case you need to exit the river prematurely
  • No alcohol or drugs on the river. They impair your ability to swim and possibly fight the current should you need to
  • Have a cell phone in a waterproof bag to keep it dry in case you need to call 911
  • Avoid the weir and recognize the warning devices. Portage around the weir by following the signs before the weir

Additionally, the LFES Water Rescue Team is aware of people jumping into the water off the low-level girders of the train bridge. LFES strongly recommends against this as it is private property belonging to CP Rail, as well as hazards below the water surface. The hazards and debris include barbwire, concrete with exposed rebar, trees and logs, rocks and holes – all of which can entangle you.

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