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Reno Fire Department stresses importance of water safety

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HomeRiverFestHeader1CITY OF RENO NEWS — With recent incidents and the upcoming holiday, the Reno Fire Department wants to stress the importance of water safety.

“Many people will be trying to keep cool with the hot weather,” advises Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez. “Whether it’s rafting in the river, swimming in a lake, or enjoying a pool, water safety always needs to remain a priority. Unfortunately, firefighters, paramedics, law enforcement personnel, and hospital staff know all too well the tragic results of a death from drowning.”

The Reno Fire Department’s Water Entry Team (WET) encourages the public to take the following precautions when enjoying the water:

• Make sure children are under constant supervision regardless of a child’s swimming skill level or depth of water. If near a river or a lake make sure to keep them away from the banks where they can easily fall in, or where erosion can result in the bank collapsing. The use of flotation devices and inflatable toys cannot replace parental/caregiver supervision.

• Never allow children to enter the water alone.

• Never drink alcoholic beverages before or during swimming or while supervising children.

• All swimmers, boaters, rafters, and kayakers should wear approved personal floatation devices. Helmets, shoes, and appropriate thermal protection are strongly encouraged when using the river.

• Avoid prolonged exposure to cold water which can lead to hypothermia. Hypothermia can incapacitate anyone, overcoming their swimming skills and ultimately lead to drowning. Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature is dramatically lowered. Among other results, there is a loss of strength and muscular coordination as well as mental confusion and often erratic behavior.

• If you see someone fall into the river, immediately call 9-1-1. DO NOT attempt a rescue by entering the water. A rope or flotation device such as an inflated toy or sports ball, or even a Styrofoam ice chest can be thrown to the victim to assist them.

• In the river, if you do fall in, do not attempt to stand up. A leg or ankle can easily become caught in underwater rocks or debris, and the force of the water can push you over and hold you under. Attempt to lie on your back with your feet pointing downriver and toes up towards the surface so you can push off rocks with your feet and attempt to maneuver to the edge of the river.

For more information on water or summer safety tips contact the Reno Fire Department at (775) 334-2300.

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