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Local organizations give tips for enjoying the Platte River safely

 A sign behind The Tate Pumphouse encouraging people to wear a life jacket if they go in the Platte River.
A sign behind The Tate Pumphouse encouraging people to wear a life jacket if they go in the Platte River. (KCWY)
Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 6:23 PM CDT
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In 2014, Alex Cressy tragically drowned in the Platte River just behind the Tate Pumphouse.

"That's really what kicked off the community's desire to do something to make the river safer for everyone," said Platte River Trails Trust Executive Director, Angela Emery.

That desire, led to the forming of the Respect Our River committee. Emery said those involved agreed that placing life jacket loaner stations at key locations in Casper would be the most direct way to promote safety.

Some of those locations include The Tate Pumphouse, Amoco Park, Robertson Road, Paradise Valley Park, Morad Park, Bryan Stock Trail Pond, Pathfinder Reservoir and Okie Beach. As inviting as the Platte River looks, it's important to understand the dangers it presents.

"Even though it doesn't look like it's flowing quickly, it is flowing quickly. There are currents in certain areas, especially through the white water part," said Emery.

At many of the key entry points along the river, you'll find safety messages and Emery encourages every person going into the water to wear a life jacket.

"Things can happen even if you're the best swimmer, even if you're the strongest, the youngest person. You just need a life jacket and it's so simple. It doesn't hurt you to put the life jacket on, it doesn't mess up the fun, so just put one on and enjoy the river safely," said Emery.

Emery appreciates the local organizations helping promote river safety and she's proud that there has not been a drowning in Casper since 2014.

Casper Fire-EMS is part of the Respect Our River committee. It said it's important to wear a life jacket, but also to use it properly.

It's also important to have a background in swimming and not relying completely on the life jacket, making sure it fits snug on your body and having it buckled at all times and never swimming alone.

If you do find yourself in an emergency situation, try to help calm the victim, reach something out, throw flotation and most importantly call 911.

"We want to be advocates for people to be outside enjoying whatever they're doing but also doing it safely," said Casper Fire-EMS Firefighter, Eric Christensen.

Christensen said you can find loaner life jackets at all fire stations in the city, all they ask, is you return them.

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