Fall City Fire
Be Safe on the River this Summer
In King County, from 2009 to
2013, there were 119 drowning deaths, an average of 24 per year. With the
warm weather approaching Fall City Fire District 27 would like to remind you
of the risks involved with swimming or rafting in the local rivers. Rivers
are dynamic systems that change constantly with hidden undercurrents, rocks,
fallen trees, and log jams that can put you and your friends in a very
Who is most at risk?
Males: Nearly 80% of people who die from drowning are male.
Children: Among those ages 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading
cause of unintentional injury-related death.
What factors influence drowning risk?
The main factors that affect drowning risk are lack of swimming ability,
lack of close supervision while swimming, location, alcohol use and failure
to wear life jackets.
Lack of Swimming Ability: Many adults
and children report that they can’t swim. Research has shown that
participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce your risk of
Lack of Close Supervision: Drowning
can happen quickly and quietly anywhere there is water; always have a
designated adult watching young children when swimming or playing around
water. Be close enough to reach your child at all times.
Location: More than half of fatal and
nonfatal drowning among those 15 years and older occurred in natural
water settings; lakes, rivers and oceans. Use the Buddy System – never
swim alone and only swim in known safe areas, preferably where there is
a lifeguard on duty.
Alcohol Use: Among adolescents and
adults, alcohol use is involved in up to 70% of deaths associated with
water recreation. Alcohol use is one of the biggest dangers while
swimming, boating, or enjoying any water sport. It influences balance,
coordination, and judgment, and its effects are heightened by sun
exposure and heat.
Failure to Wear Life Jackets:
Children or inexperienced swimmers should always wear a Coast Guard
approved life jacket when
around water. If you enjoy swimming, boating, jet skiing, or river
rafting, wear a life jacket. It may not seem cool to wear a life jacket
but it could save your life!
Additional Safety Tips:
Set limits with your children;
where they can swim, who is supervising them, and what they should have
with them. Just because they’re with a group of friends does not mean
they can rescue each other if someone gets into trouble.
Never leave a young child
unattended near water and teach children to always ask permission to go
near water, it only takes 20-60 seconds for a child to submerge without
warning. When possible swim where lifeguards are present.
Know your limits!
If you’re not a good swimmer or you’re just learning to
swim, don’t go in water that’s so deep you can’t touch the bottom. Learn
how to swim and upgrade your skills each year with swimming lessons.
Know the water!
The local rivers are cold enough to cause hypothermia
even on the hottest summer day; hypothermia can weaken even the
strongest swimmer. The river may appear safe but they are dynamic
systems that change constantly with hidden undercurrents, rocks, fallen
trees, and log jams that can put you and your friends in a very
A swimming hole
that is safe at low water flows may be unsafe with strong currents
during high water flows.
Stop and think every time you go!
Do not assume that, because it was safe last summer or last week, that
it is safe now! Do not let peer pressure get you into a situation you
cannot deal with!
Air-filled or foam toys are not safety
devices. Don't use air filled or foam toys, such as "water wings",
"noodles", or inner-tubes, instead of life jackets. These toys are not
life jackets and are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
Seconds count - learn CPR, bystander
CPR which is performed quickly has been shown to save lives and improve
outcomes in drowning victims.
By law, (RCW 79A.60.160) children ages
12 or younger must wear a Coast Guard approved
vessels 19 feet or shorter. All vessel (including rafts, canoes and
must have at least one
USGC–approved Type I, II, or III life
jacket (PFD) for each person on board.