Reno Fire Department Stresses Importance of Water Safety - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Reno Fire Department Stresses Importance of Water Safety

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From the City of Reno:

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.

From the City of Reno

On a side note - The Truckee River Foundation (TRF) will host the ninth annual Stay Afloat Safety Fair on Saturday, July 13, 2013, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., a day of free river safety classes for kids and parents. Through its River Safety Fair, TRF has distributed more than 1,000 free water safety helmets, life jacket and water shoes to kids who play in the Truckee River Whitewater Park.  This year, the Fair is proud to announce the support of the Dixie May Foundation.

"The goal is to prepare children five to 13 and parents for a safe and fun river experience, specifically on the popular Truckee River," Debbie Leonard, a TRF Board member said. "We teach them how to swim through a rapid so that they can experience the sheer power of the water in a safe environment," Leonard said. 

Throughout the day, the Stay Afloat Safety Fair offers free 50-minute workshops for kids age five to 13 that cover proper fitting of a personal flotation device and helmet, how to safely maneuver in the currents and eddies and how to escape potentially dangerous situations in the water. Each participant will be able to keep the equipment free of charge upon completing the course.  With only three to four children per instructor and safety personnel in the water and on shore throughout the event, this is an intensive, must-attend workshop.  In addition, advanced classes using boogie boards are available for kids who have successfully completed the introductory workshop.

Reservations are not required and workshops are first come, first serve.  TRF started the Stay Afloat Fair as a direct result of the enthusiastic response received from the community's youth who have played in the downtown river since construction of the Truckee River Whitewater Park.   

For more information about the Truckee River Foundation and its Stay Afloat Safety Fair, visit www.TruckeeRiverFoundation.org.

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