Warmer temperatures, Fire Dist. 3 stresses water safety

Central Point, Ore. — One of the most deceiving dangers in water is temperature. While temperatures for Memorial Weekend may be expected to be in the 80’s or 90’s, the water temperatures this time of year are normally around the mid 50’s.

While that might not sound that cold – in water, your body cools 25% faster in water than on land, which could quickly give you hypothermia.

“People underestimate how powerful the river is,” said Captain Nathan Smith, Fire District 3.

Captain Smith works for Fire District 3 – the only district in the area that can execute swift water rescues – so he’s more than familiar with the dangers of the water.

“The water as swiftly as it’s moving has a real potential for somebody to get into a situation,” Captain Smith said.

A situation – that in worst case scenario – could lead to death.

“Five, ten inches of water moving at these speeds – it’s moving can take somebody off of their feet,” Captain Smith said.

Which is why Captain Smith is encouraging everyone to take the proper precautions, before hitting the water this Memorial Day weekend.

“We don’t have a lot of natural waterways with lifeguards on-duty, so it’s really up to the public,” Captain Smith said.

Captain Smith said to be smart – and don’t let the water trick you.

“With the increased flows that we’re experiencing – also, that increases the turbidity of the water,” Captain Smith said.

Turbidity meaning the murkiness of the water.

“Jumping into water that you’re unsure of what might be under the surface is quite risky and a pretty good way of getting yourself banged up,” Captain Smith said.

Above all, captain smith says the best way to be safe, is by grade-school rules: using the buddy system.

“Always have somebody with you while you’re swimming, know where you’re going to be swimming,” Captain Smith said.

You can find the most up-to-date weather information here.

NBC5 News Reporter and Weather Forecaster Nikki Torres graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Strategic Communication from The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication.

She also received a minor in Business Administration from the Washington State University Carson College of Business. Prior to coming to NBC5, Nikki was an intern at KHQ Local News, the NBC affiliate in Spokane.

She comes to Southern Oregon from the state of Washington, where she grew up just south of Seattle. She loves running, exploring the Pacific Northwest, watching a good football game and spending time with her dog, Gisele. True to her roots, Nikki is a proud WSU Cougar fan and loyal Seahawks fan.

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