Rescue crews remind people to be prepared while using the Rio Grande

[anvplayer video=”5027793″ station=”998127″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Use of the Rio Grande climbed during the pandemic.

"With the COVID restrictions, citizens of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County utilized the Bosque river and Rio Grande River more than ever," Joe Lane, Bernalillo County Fire Department Water Rescue Task Force Coordinator.

Lane said the people using the river are a mix of those prepared and those who don’t take the necessary precautions.

"Some people take it seriously, and they have all of the precautions, life vests, and they’re prepared for the weather and the elements," He said. "And other individuals that use the river don’t have any of the preparation, and they caught either in the thunderstorm, and they end up calling 911, and we have to do a rescue."

Lane said crews conducted about 12 rescues last year, which was more than normal.

He reminds people that water can come fast during New Mexico’s quick-moving storms.

"You need to get off the water with the thunder and lightning," he said. "That’s the biggest issue, and with the salt cedar and stuff along the banks, it poses issues to try and get off of the river."

Rescue crews will step up patrols as the state prepares to open.

Starting Saturday at 9 a.m., first responders will be at multiple events along the Rio Grande to give people more information on how to stay safe.