SILOAM SPRINGS (KFSM) – Following a drowning at the Siloam Springs Whitewater Recreation Park in June, city officials invited trained professionals out to the park to teach a swift water rescue class.
Public safety director Greg Neely said there is one thing he wants locals to understand—the park is on a river, and there are elements of the river that can’t be controlled. Neeley said people using the park should have a certain level of experience will Class Three rapids. He said people need to be aware of their capabilities before stepping foot into the water.
“We rely heavily upon the citizens to be educated, to be informed, safe, and look out for one another,” Neely, “And notify us in the event that there’s something going on within the park that shouldn’t be occurring.”
City officials said they invited Arkansas Canoe Club instructor Steve Runnels to the park Sunday to teach a safety course.
“We teach what to do when you come out of the boat, when something happens, when there’s a problem and how to solve problems,” Runnels said, “Then there’s also just logic, just get a life jacket on.”
Siloam Springs firefighter Blake Osborn said Sunday was the first time he had ever taken a course about swift water rescue.
“It teaches you not only how to save somebody who’s right there, it also teaches you how to be a better victim,” Osborn said.
He said the all day training taught him what to do if his vessel were to flip over, and what to do if he saw someone in need.
“There’s a list on what’s important,” Osburn said, “Number one is yourself, number two is your partner and number three is the victim…you know you can’t help anybody if you can’t help yourself.”
City officials said they do encourage people to wear life jackets, although it is not required by law. They said the biggest rule at the park is that alcohol is not allowed.
For more information on swift water safety classes, visit the Arkansas Canoe Club website.
Neely said one of the main rules at the park is that alcohol is not allowed.