RFD gives river safety tips in the era of social distancing

Published: Apr. 28, 2020 at 8:27 PM PDT
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The Truckee River is known as the crown jewel of Northern Nevada for many, and everyone is itching to get outside after weeks of a statewide stay-at-home directive.

"I think it's going to be hard as the weather gets nicer to keep people inside," Laura Murph, who fishes in the river, said.

Many people spend time swimming and fishing in the river, but Reno Fire Chief, Dave Cochran warns that just because the weather is warmer, it doesn't mean the COVID-19 pandemic is over. He said social distancing guidelines should still be followed.

"On the water, off the water, in the river, in your homes, wherever you are," he said. "And to respect that here and that includes closures or places where access to the river has been shut down."

Cochran said with higher flows and cold water temperatures, now is not the time to float the river.

"If you fall in you could be suddenly immersed, have that cold water reaction where it causes you to lose movement in your limbs, hands and arms," he said.

If you do plan to hang out near or in the river, you should have proper equipment and never go alone.

"We always practice the buddy system, so if one of us gets in trouble there's someone to help the other out," Murph said.

Cochran also said that it's important not to put yourself or others in a dangerous situation that's avoidable.

"That puts our first responders at risk, that puts the Reno Fire Department at risk and we don't want to put anyone at risk especially in the middle of a pandemic," he said.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2020

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