Search and Rescue crews prepare for river season

Missoula County Search and Rescue Chief Joe Blattner says crews are ready for river season.

MISSOULA, Mont. - Warming weather means rising rivers, and western Montana Search and Rescue crews are on the ready.

Cory Stanberry says higher waters keep him on edge.

"I like bringing my puppy down here, and the water is really high now so it's just has me worried and I'm extra cautious," said Stanberry.

Missoula County Search and Rescue is made up of 30 volunteers. Chief Joe Blattner says high water means being alert.

"It makes it very important for recreators who intend to get on the water or in the water or around the water to have some safety concerns in mind," said Blattner, who added during river season SAR receives about a dozen emergency calls. Those calls often happen when the weather turns bad or the sun sets.

Blattner cautions river users to be aware of debris and always know what's upstream.

"We're worried about trees, branches. We're also worried about other objects and debris -- things like fences and shopping carts and things that can cause injuries," said Blattner.

He says to never underestimate the water.

"One of the important things to remember is that water is powerful, and it's unrelenting. Water will not stop flowing if there is an injury or accident," said Blattner.

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