Sacramento Metro Fire Safety Message Regarding Low-River-Level Rescue Operations

Periodically, bicyclists traveling the American River Bike Trail choose to wade in the American River to cool off following a bicycle trip.   Bicyclists that choose to cool off in the American River must be extremely careful as the American River can be very dangerous.

The Sacramento Metro Fire Department has recently communicated that fire department boat use for emergency calls may be handled differently versus past years due to the current low level of the American River.

Due to the low rainfall during the past few months, the river is clearly below the average water level compared to past years. As a result, Sacramento Metro Fire has communicated that rescue personnel may not have the ability to use boats for rescue efforts as widely as past years when the American River was at higher levels.  Low water levels may restrict maneuvering the rescue boats toward emergency locations in the river.

However, when appropriate, the Sacramento Metro Fire has emphasized that fire trucks will access the adjoining river levee surface as necessary to travel to emergency call rescue locations along the American River to engage rescue operations.  For fire department information not involving a current emergency situation, please access the Sacramento Metro Fire non-emergency telephone number.  For all emergencies in progress, call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance.

Sacramento Metro Fire Department has also communicated that individuals that access the river should follow all safety measures and use extreme caution since the water is very cold and generally moves faster at a lower level.  Obstructions, including tree limbs and other items under or partially under the river water surface, may create additional hazards for parties that are in the river water.

Sacramento Metro Fire and the City of Sacramento Fire Departments both continue to perform exceptional fire protection work, emergency medical services and rescue operations for the citizens of the Sacramento Area.   Hats off to the men and women of these agencies!

Please use extreme caution when accessing the American River. We all look forward a fun and safe summer of 2014 around the American River!

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