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First responders install life jacket loaner station in Altoona

Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Katrina Lim | WQOW

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Altoona (WQOW) - If these high temps have you heading for water, local first responders are teaming up to help keep you safer on the waves.

The Altoona Fire Department, Eau Claire Fire Department, the city of Altoona, and Altoona Police Department have installed a life jacket loaner station at River Prairie Park in Altoona.

The child and adult-sized jackets are donated from members in the community.

Altoona Fire Chief Mark Renderman said this area of the park under the Highway 53 bridge seems pretty calm, but as the river flows towards downtown Eau Claire, the current gets faster, and more dangerous.

Renderman said their colleagues at the Eau Claire Fire Department have done multiple water rescue calls in one weekend this month because the swifter current trapped people in tree branches overhanging the water.

"We're hoping that people utilize the life jackets, and I have seen that the life jackets have been utilized. I hope people will put life jackets on their children when they're down here fishing or enjoying the area along the river, along the river banks, and if they're tubing and kayaking the river. That way, we can hopefully save a life," said Renderman.

Renderman said Altoona Police plan to build a couple more life jacket stations around the county.

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