CASPER, Wyo. — The Casper Fire-EMS Department said on Wednesday, June 23 that they are seeing an increase in the number of calls for possible drownings and water rescues in the North Platte River.
The department says that many of these calls have been made by people seeing unoccupied boats, kayaks and inflatable devices floating by and alerting 911.
“In some cases, it is determined to simply be case of the individual and the watercraft becoming separated and no need for rescue,” Casper Fire-EMS said.
The Casper Fire-EMS department said that people who notice an unmanned watercraft are doing the right thing by calling 911 when they notice possible signs of a water emergency.
While they are still encouraging people to report possible emergencies, the department is also asking that people who become separated from their watercraft but don’t need rescue notify the dispatch center with a description of their watercraft and approximate location when it’s safe to do so.
People who don’t need rescue and are reporting their watercraft should use the non-emergency number for the Casper Public Safety Communication Center at 307-235-8278.
Casper Fire-EMS said that people reporting when they become separated from their watercraft can help the department avoid wasting resources when a rescue is not actually needed.
The department added that people should consider placing their name and contact information on their watercraft. This could prove helpful when the department receives a call for a rescue due to someone separated from their watercraft and could also help people recover lost property.
In addition, the department reminded people that they should return any loaner life jackets they borrow from stations along the river: “If you have one in your boat or garage, please return those as well. You could save a life! Stay safe Casper!”