After a deadly summer along the Merrimack River last year, officials in one New Hampshire town are taking a creative approach to save people from drowning.
We all know, in the middle of a heat wave, there’s no better place to be than in the water.
“It’s refreshing, but also you’ve got to stay safe,” said Evan Rodriguez of Canterbury, New Hampshire.
And that’s the thing because along the Merrimack River, staying safe isn’t all that easy.
“Because some days it could have a fast current,” Rodriguez said.
“It’s deep,” added his young friend Rafael Mahoney.
Canterbury Fire Chief Michael Gamache explains.
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“You see the discoloring,” the Chief asked. “It goes from about 2.5 feet to 15 feet, it goes down like that.”
Last summer in this small, New Hampshire town, four people hit that drop off, got caught up in the current, and drowned.
The deaths prompted officials to install warning signs at all four town beaches. This week, they added Coast Guard certified throw rings and water rescue ropes.
The Chief also says last summer, callers had a hard time identifying where they were, making it nearly impossible for first responders to find them before it was too late.
“So, the signs you see behind you, we posted with GPS coordinates and the beach location,” Chief Gamache said.
“I think it could be really helpful in a situation,” Martinez said.
At a total cost of about a thousand dollars, the Chief is hopeful other municipalities will follow suit, saying it’s a small price to pay to prevent another tragedy in the water.
“If it saves one life, mission accomplished,” he said.