Weekends at Horsetooth Reservoir will be extra safe this summer, as medical personnel will staff ranger boats.

This summer, paramedics from UCHealth's Poudre Valley Hospital EMS will join county boat rangers on Saturdays and holidays, and volunteer emergency medical technicians from Poudre Fire Authority will join them on Sundays. This way, the busiest days on the water will be manned with trained life-saving professionals.

"This partnership is important so we can provide, if needed, advanced life support when minutes can change lives," said Jim Hawkins, Larimer County's senior ranger and boat safety coordinator, in a news release.

UCHealth says that having medical personnel on the reservoir could save between 20 and 27 minutes in getting support to injured visitors on Horsetooth Reservoir. Hawkins adds that paramedics and EMTs are crucial for providing aid when medical situations arise not only on the water, but in surrounding open spaces involving car accidents, hiking injuries, snake bites, heat exhaustion, heart attacks, and other major medical issues.

The partnership between these agencies has already paid off, too.

Over Memorial Day weekend, a paramedic was able to provide care within minutes of a 911 call made regarding an injury in the South Bay swim beach at Horsetooth Reservoir.

"We are greatly appreciative of the training that we received from the rangers to help us safely do our jobs on the water," said Ted Beckman, division chief with UCHealth's PVH EMS. "There are inherent risks to recreational activities in and around the park, and we see a benefit to having a paramedic in proximity during peak hours."

This partnership comes at no additional cost to the taxpayer, as UCHealth is absorbing the cost of providing paramedics, while Poudre Fire Authority is supplementing with volunteer time.