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The Arkansas River Outfitters Association (AROA) has implemented an additional layer of safety for its industry by placing Automated External Defibrillators (AED) at key points along the Arkansas River from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day, 2019.

“Nothing is without risk. AROA is constantly looking for ways to help make the river safer. We want to be prepared for any situation,” said Brandon Slate, President of AROA – a trade organization made up of 30 river outfitters within the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA).

AEDs are high-tech, life-saving, medical devices that deliver an electrical shock to re-establish the heart’s rhythm in the event of sudden cardiac arrest. The sophisticated device gives visual and even audible instructions to talk users through the process until medical professionals arrive.

This groundbreaking program started last year but will be further enhanced this season. AROA will rent and place 12 AEDs – up from eight last year – along 100 miles of the river to coincide with Colorado Parks and Wildlife backboard locations.

“This is a model program. We are the first to do it to this extent,” said Slate. “There are buildings near rivers that have AED’s inside, but none that are set up in wilderness areas like we’re doing that are specifically designated for boaters to use.”

Encased in waterproof boxes, the AEDs are posted along the Arkansas River from Leadville to Cañon City from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day. A notable partner is Colorado Parks and Wildlife through the AHRA. Rangers will deploy the devices, and regularly check and maintain them. Northwest River Supply (NRS) also collaborated with this program by providing water-proof boxes at a discount.

“Of course, we hope we never have to use the AEDs, but having them there is important for overall river safety,” said Slate.

“At AROA, we are proud to be a leader in promoting safety on the river and throughout the river communities,” said Slate.  “AROA’s overall efforts on safety issues make the Arkansas River a great place to take your family and friends whitewater rafting.”

SOURCE Arkansas River Outfitters Association