NewsCovering Colorado


Increasing emergency calls as well as false alarms with rising Arkansas River

Posted at 6:51 PM, Jun 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-16 21:51:36-04

First responders are getting dispatched a lot to possible rescue situations with concerns of rising and raging water in the Arkansas River through Southern Colorado. Often it is because of some kind of watercraft or flotation device is found in the water without any people around. “When they see an inner tube on the river, their first thought is perhaps somebody just fell off of it,” said Captain Wood Percival with Pueblo Fire Department, “We’d rather err on the side of caution, respond out and make sure we don’t have a rescue situation on our hands.”

It is good for the public to also be aware that calls that end up as a non-emergency can slow the response to other calls. “During these conditions, we end up going out an awful lot of things that are nothing more than items that were discarded into the river and appear to be an emergency.”

There a few best practices that can help. If your watercraft or flotation device gets away and you are unable to safely retrieve it give dispatch a call on the non-emergency line. “Let them know that you’ve lost that item in the river. Give a brief description of it so at that point we at least know when we come onto the scene that, that device has been reported as missing.”

Going out on the river by yourself is not recommended. If you decide to go anyway, let someone know where you are going and how long you plan to be there. Information in your car, especially if you move locations, is also a good practice. “Leave a note in your car that explains who you are and where you went and a description of your watercraft is extremely helpful.” Information and clues help confirm whether a situation is a true emergency.