A new river-safety initiative, “Play it Safe on the Poudre,” emphasizes this point through newly installed safety and educational signage along the river, public outreach and other means. The intent is to minimize future Poudre River-related injuries and deaths. In the days after two river deaths in summer 2017, representatives from multiple agencies came together with an impassioned drive to empower people to recreate as safely as possible near the Poudre River. The “Play it Safe” initiative was born. It’s important to note that river-safety work has gone on in our community in past years.
“The Poudre River is a source of local pride that draws thousands to its waters each year. We wouldn’t dissuade peoples’ love for it and what it represents. But the river is equal parts beautiful and destructive. Its power is easy to underestimate, and river-related tragedy can befall anyone at any time,” PFA spokeswoman Madeline Noblett said.
“Ultimately, as an emergency service agency, it’s Poudre Fire Authority’s duty to do what we can to reduce risk in our community related to any element, fire or water. And we couldn’t do that without the support of our committed partners.” Representatives who have taken part in the group’s efforts represent: Poudre Fire Authority; multiple departments within the City of Fort Collins, including the city’s Natural Areas Department; Poudre Heritage Alliance for the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area; Larimer County; the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and Larimer County Emergency Services; Colorado Parks and Wildlife; and more.
The Poudre River presents numerous hazards. Broken or low-hanging tree branches, hidden beneath the water, can snag a person out for a lazy afternoon tubing trip. Freezing waters made cold by spring runoff can cause a person to react slowly, when quicker action is needed, or possibly suffer hypothermia. And deceptively fast moving waters pose a drowning risk to even the most experienced swimmers.
THE POUDRE HERITAGE ALLIANCE HOSTED THE FOLLOWING PUBLIC EVENTS RELATED TO WATER SAFETY IN 2018:
Day of Giving
HuHot Mongolian Grill, 249 S. College Ave., Fort Collins
HuHot donated 20% of the day’s proceeds to support Larimer County Dive Rescue Team. The money will be used to purchase new rescue equipment for the team.
Outreach at New Belgium
Poudre Heritage Alliance hosted a booth on New Belgium Brewery’s lawn to educate the public about and raise funds for the “Play it Safe on the Poudre” initiative.