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Collaboration brings life jackets, new tech to protect swimmers along Sandy River this summer.

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF GRESHAM - More lifejackets are available for free rentals along the Sandy River thanks to the Corbett Fire Department. Emergency responders are teaming up in East Multnomah County to make local waterways safer for summer recreationists.

Gresham Fire & Emergency Services is collaborating with Corbett Fire to increase water safety awareness, while also implementing new equipment to prevent drownings.

"Unfortunately, drownings occur every summer along the Sandy River," said Capt. Travis Soles. "This is why collaborating with our neighbors in Corbett is so important."

"Together, we can work toward providing education and resources to help keep our communities safe," he added.

Corbett Fire is putting in a platform along the Sandy River at Dabney State Park, 30174 E. Historic Columbia River Highway, that will have life jackets for swimmers to borrow. The platform has bilingual instructions and was sponsored by Dick's Sporting Goods, Home Depot, Oregon State Parks and Corbett Fire.

Gresham Fire has a new jet ski watercraft, which will reduce response times, particularly in shallow waters. Corbett Fire also has a new underwater sonar scanner — AquaEye — that can identify human bodies underwater. It is the first time this technology is being used in Oregon.

Both organizations are training together with the new equipment. The goal is to ensure a fun and safe summer for all.

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