Spokane man aims to save lives with loaner life jacket program - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane man aims to save lives with loaner life jacket program

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

It may be toasty outside but the water is anything but that. First responders say it’s important to be careful in the water.

One man is trying to prevent accidents and drownings when people go into the Spokane River.

Carl VanEtten kayaks whenever it gets warm. It’s something he likes to do. But one thing he always does is wear a life jacket, even putting one on his dog Charlie.

“I was kayaking and I actually saw a log and I thought it was a person floating in the water it really actually scared me quite a bit,” he says.

He didn’t ever want to actually see that happen to someone, so he came up with a solution. He started a loaner life jacket program, putting life jackets on hooks on the map boards at various sites along the river.

“Use it, and then help safe a life and put it back,” he says. “The goal is to have zero drownings in the river and if people are really aware of the dangers of what the Spokane River carries I'm sure they would be wearing a life jacket.”

The life jackets are still being put out but they will be at five different sites by Memorial Day weekend. Those sites are at the State Line, Harvard, Barker, Mirabeau, and Boulder Beach. He is working on getting them at other locations too.

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