Truckee Fire prepared for holiday weekend water rescues

TRUCKEE, CA (KOLO) In Tahoe City, water continues to be released from Lake Tahoe into the Truckee River. The water is running fast and the temperature is cold.

The Truckee Fire Department doesn’t expect a big push of people getting into the river because the weather just won’t encourage it. However, they say, accidents can happen, and they happen faster than you think.

"So make sure you are mindful of your kids, make sure they have life jackets on, and be careful in and around rivers, streams and lakes, and enjoy your stay," says Captain Steve Kessmann with Truckee Fire.

Captain Kessman say his department is trained in swift water rescue.

“So all of our guys are trained to an awareness level of swift water rescue. And then we also have about a third of our crew that is trained to a higher technical level,” says the captain. “And then we also have a regional rescue team that incorporates other agencies. And we work collectively with those guys; for a more complicated incident we activate them. If we need to use a helicopter CHP is available to us. And we train with them as well,” says Kessmann.

The Truckee River water temperature is in the mid-forties. Even if you could handle the current, it would only take minutes for someone without a wet suit to go into shock.

Captain Kessmann says the department personnel show their appreciation for the dangers of the river with the equipment they use.

“Our policy is our guys are going to have all their helmets, throw bags, and life jackets within ten feet of the water's edge,” he says. ”So a lot of times the public comes up and they aren't going to have that type of equipment or training. But just be mindful, it you are that close to the water, that's an area where you can fall in and potentially get into trouble,” says Captain Kessmann.

At Lake Tahoe, conditions are overcast with intermittent rain.

Experienced boaters may find themselves out on the lake at some point over the weekend. They are encouraged to keep an ear on the forecast, and be alert to wind warnings, should they arise.

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