The death of a 69-year-old man who drowned in the Boise River on Thursday shows just how dangerous the river can be when it is at its current level.
As new parks and attractions like the whitewater park emerge, the Boise Fire Department is constantly working to ensure they have the access they need in the event of a river emergency. During a water rescue, seconds can mean the difference between life and death. The sooner first responders can get into the water the better the odds. During a high water event, their job is even harder.
"The water rises into a tree area, wooded areas where there are trees and that just makes it that much more complicated to work through trees and brush, all that," explained Special Operations Division Chief Paul Roberts of the Boise Fire Department.
As areas along the river and the Greenbelt continue to be developed and expand, the Boise Fire Department says it is also working to create new access points to get into the river and save lives.
"We've had discussions with all of the stakeholders related to the Boise River and we've got some access points along that river, we've got a couple of others in mind," said Roberts. "So we're pretty excited about having formalized access points along the river."
On top of that, the Boise Fire Department also says it's had discussions with the developers of Esther Simplot Park. A ramp has been installed to allow them quick and easy access, a result of developers working closely with the fire department.
"The people that are doing the construction are very proactive with us and helping us either identify access points or helping us get to different places," explained Roberts.
The Boise Fire Department adds it has posted the river for its dangerous conditions. That designation means if you're rescued from the river right now, you could end up paying for the expenses of the operation.