Kayak Park lifejacket loaner program opens

WARM BEACH Visitors to Snohomish Countys Kayak Park will once again be able to stay safer on the water this summer, as the North County Fire and Emergency Services kicked off its eighth-annual program of loaning out lifejackets, free of charge, during the Memorial Day weekend.
North County Fire and EMS Battalion Chief Christian Davis explained that the loaner lifejacket cabinet, located at the Kayak Park boat ramp, opened May 25 and will continue to make lifejackets available, to both adults and children, throughout the summer to the Labor Day weekend.
Davis said that North County Fire and EMS and the Snohomish County Safe Kids Coalition, who are jointly sponsoring the program, intend to prevent drowning by making lifejackets more accessible.
We hope this program will make parents more aware of the need for close supervision when children are around water, Davis said. We do not, however, want the life jackets to provide a false sense of security. Parents still need to keep a close watch on their children. Drowning usually occurs quickly and silently. Childhood drowning can happen in a matter of seconds and typically occurs when a child is left unattended or during a brief lapse in supervision.
Davis noted that lifejacket use is recommended for all ages on boats, rafts or inner-tubes. He added that children 11 years old and younger should also wear lifejackets on docks and riverbanks, while children five years old and younger should also wear lifejackets on beaches and in deep or swift waters.
Theres been a lot of drowning in South Snohomish County, especially involving small watercraft, Davis said. With lifejackets, smaller kids can play along the shoreline without parents having to worry as much about them being swept up by big waves.
Davis reported that the North County Fire and EMS Water Rescue Team also wants to remind everyone that whether a person appears to be in distress, or things just dont look right to them, they shouldnt hesitate to call 9-1-1 and activate the Water Rescue Team. In those situations, every second can count, Davis said.
On behalf of the firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics of North County Fire and EMS, Davis thanked the community for all their support.
This program has been very well-received, Davis said. The rangers enjoy having it and since theres a new playground in the area, well have additional lifejackets for small children. Were working hard today to help protect your tomorrow.

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