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Water summer safety tips

The Kent Fire Department is cautioning residents about dangerous waters after two water-related deaths over the last weekend.

According to the Fire Department, in one case, a teen is presumed drowned after he got caught in a rip tide at Ocean Shores while playing in the surf with several friends. His body has not been recovered. In the second incident, a woman drowned while inner-tubing on the Nisqually River in Thurston County. The victim was on the river with a relative when their inner-tubes hit a stump and became entangled. She was not wearing a personal floatation device (life jacket).

Nationally, there were 3,782 drowning deaths in 2010. In King County an average of 31 people die from drowning each year. In addition, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 1–17.

Hot, dry weather is driving many people to local bodies of water for relief from the heat. If you are planning on going to a lake, river, the ocean, or a pool, the Kent Fire Department RFA asks that you please keep these safety tips in mind.

General Water Safety:

  • Take swimming lessons and never exceed your abilities.
  • Go to bodies of water that you are familiar with.
  • Always wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket when near or in water.
  • Remember that boating/swimming and alcohol are a dangerous combination.
  • Always swim with a buddy.
  • Notify others of your plans to be on the water and a return time.
  • Take a cell phone with you.

Rivers:

  • Wear the appropriate equipment. In addition to a life jacket, consider a helmet and foot covering.
  • Use a professional rafting company.
  • Avoid cheap/inexpensive rafts that can be easily damaged by branches and stumps exposed on the river.
  • Know that river water temperatures are typically in the low 50s.

Lakes:

  • Obey boating laws and rules for the particular lake you are on.
  • Watch for swimmers, those fishing, and other boats/watercraft.
  • Know ahead of time about any underwater obstructions such as tree roots or branches.
  • Swim at lakes that have life guards.

Pools:

  • Swim at pools with life guards.
  • Supervise children at all times.
  • Floating or inflatable toys are not a safe substitute for a life jacket.
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