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Water Safety

In 2013, there were 4,056 drowning deaths in the United States, an average of 11 deaths per day. From 2009 to 2013, there were 119 drowning deaths among residents of King County, an average of 24 per year. Many of these drownings took place in open water, such as rivers, lakes, and Puget Sound.

Drowning is completely preventable. The best ways to prevent drownings are:

  • Lakes and rivers are particularly dangerous in May and early June. Beaches do not have lifeguards yet and rivers are colder, swifter, and more dangerous in general than in July and August. If you want to swim in the spring, swim in a pool that has lifeguards.
  • Raft only with a professional company and always wear a life vest.
  • Know the water - Washington waters are cold enough to cause hypothermia even on the hottest summer day; hypothermia can weaken even the strongest swimmer.
  • Know your limits - drowning often happens when a person tires while swimming.
  • Wear a life jacket - when swimming anywhere without lifeguards or whenever you boat, jet ski, tubing, or do other water sports. By law, children ages 12 or younger must wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket or vest on all vessels less than 19 feet.
  • Always avoid alcohol when swimming or boating.
  • Keep children within immediate reach when you are near any type of water.

If you are in need of a life vest, the VRFA sells custom fit lifejackets at cost for $14 cash or check. The jackets can be purchased and custom fit at our headquarters fire station. Sizes range from infant to adult. The lifejacket program was made possible by a grant from the Auburn Area Fire Medic Campaign.

If you own a pool, be sure your family knows and observes all safety rules. See the information below for pool safety tips.

Pool & Spa Safety

©2018 Valley Regional Fire Authority

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