Oregon State Police is part of the Columbia Gorge Safe Kids Coalition, which is part of the greater Safe Kids Oregon organization. They have developed a universal sign which aims to prevent drowning in natural water. The sign, which is available for use throughout Oregon, warns visitors of places they should keep clear of when looking to cool off. The message reads, in both English and Spanish, “Dangerous Area – Do Not Swim”, and depicts a red circle backlash symbol over the icon of a swimmer. Betsy Hartner, the State Coordinator of Safe Kids Oregon, conducted research to ensure the sign adheres to national and international standards.
The first of these signs was placed in cooperation with Oregon State Parks near the Deschutes River & White River Falls along the White River. The signs were posted within days of yet another near drowning near the falls, where thankfully a man was rescued and revived using CPR. “Although another tragedy was avoided, we are hoping these signs will make a difference and keep people from getting into these situations in the first place”, said Senior Trooper Holloran of the Oregon State Police.
There are plenty of places to swim safely in Oregon, and there are life jacket loaner stations available throughout the state which can be found online on the Oregon State Marine Board’s Life Jacket Loaner Station Map: https://www.oregon.gov/osmb/boater-info/Pages/Life-Jacket-Loaner-Stations.aspx. Life jackets are always recommended for children, teens, and adults while swimming in natural water and for all persons when boating.
The summer heat is upon us, so please be mindful of designated swimming areas and never leave children unattended. Here’s to a safe summer on Oregon waterways!
The template for the sign is available for any organization or group that would like to warn the public of unsafe areas in natural water. To receive the template free of cost, email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Columbia Gorge Safe Kids Coalition is made up of multiple partners such as the Oregon State Police, the Washington State Police, the Oregon Department of Human Service, Next Door Inc., Wasco/Sherman Public Health Department, Providence Hood River, Good Shepard Hermiston, and Mid-Columbia Medical Center, to name a few. To find out more about Safe Kids Oregon, visit http://www.safekidsoregon.org/
In this photo, Oregon State Park Ranger Nate Brophy installing one of the signs.