Casper Firefighters Learn How to Save Lives on River

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They may be called firefighters but ousting flames isn't all they do. Thursday Casper Fire-EMS fought water. Just about every year someone drowns in the Platte River, but Thursday morning local rescuers find ways to prevent it.
Our temperatures are creeping up and everybody is enjoying Wyoming for what it is and getting out on the river, even Casper firefighters, but they aren't here for fun.
Casper Fire-EMS Public Information Officer Craig Kidder said, "We train to see how the river has changed and where those different features or different dangers are."
This time around they are training on a new device; a banana boat that can rescue victims from either ice or rapids, and the firefighters are getting the hang of it.
Captain Scott Low said, "The guys are getting really familiar with it and if we have any problems we should be able to handle it as quickly as possible."
While the firefighters are confident they also warn that ASAP may not be too quick.
Kidder said, "Even if you're in town you're looking at a 10 to 15 minute time to intervention from us, and we're only a couple minutes away."
And that's why it's good to take some precautions. Firefighters say they do this training to help you, and they'd appreciate it if you took a few seconds to buckle up, and help yourself. Wearing a life vest isn't only for people who can't swim; it's for everyone.
Kidder said, "We're the guys that are gonna come and save you and we wear a maximum buoyancy vest."
And putting on a life jacket isn't the only smart decision river goers can make.
Low, "They also need to not drink. That seems to be a common denominator."
But if you do decide to have a few beverages while you're floating down the Platte if something goes wrong, even if you're not 21 years old, don't worry about getting in trouble just call 911.
Low said, "Any mistakes that a person makes can be taken care of. Everybody makes mistakes. We just want to get the person to safety."
Kidder says other ways to avoid bad situations on the river are to travel in groups and tell someone not coming to the river with you exactly where you plan to go.
Fire department officials also stress they have life vests available free of charge at all Casper fire stations and the Pump House, but to please return them after use.