The City of Sioux Falls released the findings of an annual Falls Park safety assessment, according to Parks and Recreation director Don Kearney.
The safety assessment confirmed that erecting additional walls or fences along the water would severely impede potential rescue efforts, Kearney said. Sidewalks and walled viewing stations throughout Falls Park provide several vantage points for visitors to appreciate the wonder of the Falls at a close, but safe distance.
This was a concern after Madison Wallace and Lyle Eagle Tail died on March 14, 2013 while attempting to rescue Wallace's brother from the Falls. The child was not harmed.
Additional anchor points have been installed in the park by drilling small holes in strategic quartzite rock formations. The anchors can be attached to the holes and provide additional safety lines for rescuers.
"Our thoughts and prayers remain with (Wallace and Eagle Tail's) families and friends," said Kearney. "Public safety remains the most vital component in Falls Park operations. With that goal in mind, after the incident we collectively evaluated current conditions and any potential improvements."
Signage is in place at all the main access points to Falls Park and warns visitors in universal language to be wary of the water's edge due to slippery conditions when wet, to watch for turbulent water, to actively supervise younger children and not to swim in the area.
Additional signage has been placed at other locations in the park to reinforce that message, Kearney added. Signage also is included in River Greenway plans so that those approaching the Falls in canoes or other watercraft are further warned.
Officials reminded residents that bodies of water pose a natural hazard regardless of the precautions taken. In the event of an emergency, contact 911 and allow professional rescue personnel to conduct rescue efforts rather than attempt these efforts yourself.
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