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Tips for staying safe on the river

Lava Hot Springs is a great place to recreate in the summer. The threat of rain did not stop people from enjoying the river in Lava Hot Springs Tuesday.

Lava Hot Springs, an Icon to Bannock County and Southeast Idaho, provides a great vacation destination for families. During the summer, the river is the main attraction.

Thousands of people will float this river every summer. Although there are hardly any emergencies, scrapes, bumps and bruises are very common.

“It’s a rocky river, it’s not man-made. It’s not. You get scratch and bruises,” said Jairo Lopez, local resident and tube renter.

Jairo Lopez, an employee for TPD Tube Rentals, has worked here for 2 years. He says he’s seen injuries of all kinds.

“It’s not a lazy river. Especially, the ‘mutilater.’ You don’t see that it drops off but it does.”

The “mutilater,” is a ledge hole that connects both halves of the river-float. Water drops off over the ledge and then travels back upstream, easily flipping a tube. However, it’s not flipping off the tube that is the most dangerous but rather the rocks that lie beneath. Wearing proper attire is essential.

“We like to have them wearing swimming shoes, gym shoes, really they should be going down barefoot, flip-flops or sandals, the river will cut up their feet,” Lopez said.

Another tip, use proper tubes.

“Pool toys, especially those noodles, they don’t hold you up very great. There’s a difference in the feeling. Those are very thin. The ones we have are thick and specifically made for rivers,” Lopez said.

Since the river is known to tip people off, experienced riders strongly suggest to never go down with toddlers, specifically anyone under 7. Although it’s rare to receive emergencies, Bannock County sheriff says use common sense on the river.

“Very safe if done properly. The big issue is more, understand that when you’re with water, there’s going to be issues,” said Bannock County Sheriff Loren Nielsen.

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