Umatilla Sheriff's Office Sergeant Dave Johnson was one of the officers that responded to the call and the one that saved the three people.
He tells NBC Right Now the three people were lucky they're alive after their inflatable raft starting sinking Friday.
After the river rescue and everyone was back on land, Johnson started to do some digging of his own. The three people only had one life jacket on board and the river conditions were hazardous. Johnson found out that when the people bought the raft from a store in the Tri-Cities, they didn't get any water safety tips.
Now Johnson's trying to start a campaign to encourage people to be more educated when it comes to water safety and encourage stores to talk to their customers about it, "Please go to your sheriffs office or anybody else that's educated in the water and get educated before you go out. I can educate you when you're on top of the water. If I have to get you off the bottom, I can't educate you anymore."
Some tips Johnson offers are:
- watch the weather because water temperatures are still cold and hypothermia is still possible on a 90 or 100 degree day.
- if you look up and down the river and it looks black, don't go in the water
- everyone must have a life jacket on board, even if you're just in an inner tube.
- there needs to be a sound producing device on board
Johnson says there are too many injuries and fatalities every summer that are easily avoidable.