Rescuers: Warm weather and cold, fast rivers pose a dangerous situation

For the Reporter

Warm weather brings people to enjoy beaches, lakes and rivers, but the water is still cold and dangerous.

Historically, King County Fire District 44 responds to several incidents on the Green and White rivers in the spring.

Local and regional rivers this time of year can be dangerous because the current if fast, the water is cold, and there is debris in the water that may trap a person, according to King County Fire Protection District 44.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the U.S. and Washington State is second in the country for children.

Drownings are preventable.

• Know your limits: Keep children and pets out of the water, especially if it has a current. You may need keep children in eyesight at all time and keep pets on leash. Be sure to have the proper equipment such as wet suits, proper boat for the location, and a whistle for communication. It is also important to let friends and/or family know where you are going to be and when you are going to be home.

• Know the water: Washington waters can be cold and cause hypothermia even in warm weather. Check the conditions, consult with professionals, and don't get in if it is too dangerous. Get to know the hazards with the water such as currents, tides, downed trees and access points.

• Wear a life jacket: Life jackets are available at most sporting goods stores and come in all sizes for adults, children and even pets. Seventy-five percent of boating fatalities could have been prevented if the person was wearing a proper life jacket.

The temperature this weekend may get up into the eighties so we expect to see people on or near the water. The current river levels on the Green River dangerously high and we urge people to stay off the river this weekend.


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