The Yakima Fire Department (YFD) offers a number of water safety resources and suggestions as community members head out to the water, whether it be a back yard pool or local rivers, lakes and streams.
Some available resources include a life jacket loan program, funded and maintained by the Yakima Firefighters Association. Life jackets are available for use by the community at no cost. The Yakima Firefighters Association only asks that they be returned after your day in or on the water so someone else may borrow them as well.
The life jackets are available at two locations: YFD Fire Station 93, 511 N. 40th Avenue; and YFD Fire Station 92, 7707 Tieton Drive.
Once community members are out on the water, YFD also has resources to assist when needed. Those include a water rescue team, inflatable river rafts and a jet boat.
“Our focus is to serve the public with courage and compassion,” said Fire Chief Aaron Markham. “And we encourage the public to help us help them by being safe when they’re out on the water.”
Tips for staying safe in the water include:
- Never swim alone.
- Swim in designated areas only, and swim only when a lifeguard is on duty.
- Wear a life jacket while boating – even on calm waters.
- Actively supervise children near water.
- Learn CPR and rescue techniques.
- Make sure the water matches your skill level. Swimming in a pool is much different than swimming in a lake or river, where more strength is needed to handle currents.
- Don’t push or jump on others.
- Don’t dive in unfamiliar areas.
- Before boating, swimming, going to the beach, etc., establish ground rules for safe conduct. If any of the rules are broken address the issue immediately.
- Avoid alcohol use when swimming, boating and participating in water sports or activities.
- Water that is warm on the surface can be much colder below. The risks of cold water shock and hypothermia, which occurs when the body is suddenly submerged in cold water, can lead to hyperventilation, cardiac arrest and potential drowning.
Call 575-6060 or visit https://yakimafire.com/ for more about the Yakima Fire Department.