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City Releases Safety Assessment At Falls Park

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Each year, along with the Sioux Falls Police Department and Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, the Risk Assessment Team with the City of Sioux Falls takes a walk around the Falls. At that time, they look at what they can do to make the park safer.

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Division Chief Jeff Helm said, "We have incidents where people get too close to the water and having one is too many."

On March 14, 2013, a little boy fell in the Big Sioux River. He is saved from the water, but as a result his two rescuers are never seen alive again. It's times like these that makes us look back and ask could things of been different? That's exactly what officials with the City of Sioux Falls are doing.

Sioux Falls Parks & Recreation Director Don Kearney said, "We felt it was important on our end to do our due diligence to re-evaluate what we currently do down at Falls Park so it's as safe as it can be."

For the city this doesn't mean putting a barrier between visitors and what they come to see.

Kearney said, "One of the things we talked about with the fences is where do you start it and where do you stop it and does it have gates and where would those gates be."

Instead, the city has put up more warning signs.

"We had eight signs that were previously installed and then we added three additional signs again just to reinforce the message that you need to be actively supervising your children and people of the inherent danger of actively being in and around the falls."

Something new to the park is something that you can hardly see; five holes drilled into the quartzite.

Helm said, "Just slide it in, make sure it's lock in, there's nothing I could do to pull that thing out."

Instead of fire trucks, rescue crews will already have something to hold onto if something tragic were to happen again.

"We'll put ropes along, all the way across the river and we'll use that as our guidance and use that to connect to to do our operations to make sure we don't get swept downstream," said

The anchors can hold up to 10,000 pounds, just as effective as a fire truck. They only cost around $200.
A small price to pay to keep residents safe.

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