Partner with Iowa Project AWARE staff and your fellow volunteers to keep your cleanup experience fun and safe.
Before the River Cleanup
Set yourself up for a great volunteer experience before leaving home:
- Make sure you’re up-to-date with your tetanus vaccine. Learn about protecting yourself and your family from tetanus.
- Pack the right clothing (such as close-toed shoes) and safety equipment (inherently buoyant personal flotation devices, or life jackets, are required for all participants). NO SELF/AUTO INFLATING PFDs are allowed. See a packing list.
During the River Cleanup
Throughout Iowa Project AWARE, follow these safety guidelines:
- Each day, check the white board at the registration desk for the day’s agenda and any special instructions.
- Check in at the registration tent when you arrive.
- Work in pairs or teams; experienced paddlers are encouraged to partner up with less-experienced paddlers.
- Children younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult while paddling a multi-person vessel. If paddling a vessel solo, minors must be within visual sight of their parent, guardian, or responsible adult.
- Wear an inherently buoyant, personal flotation device (PFD) and close-toed shoes when you’re on the river. No self/auto inflating PFDs allowed.
- Wear cut-resistant work gloves when handling river trash.
- While on the water, stay behind the lead canoe and ahead of the sweep canoe.
- Anyone not to the halfway point by a predetermined designated time will be asked to come off the river.
Most Iowa Project AWARE staff are certified in first aid and CPR. Support staff also carry an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) during the event and have been trained in its use. You’re also encouraged to bring your own first aid kit.
Rest assured, weather is monitored throughout the week. In the event of severe weather, you’ll be taken to a designated storm shelter. If you’re on the water when severe weather happens, you’ll be instructed to seek shelter on the riverbank. Never paddle in a lightning storm.