This Memorial Day weekend, many families will be spending time around swimming pools, lakes and rivers. Before heading out Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services recommend reading through the following statistics and safety tips to assist in doing your part to prevent accidents.
Boating, kayaking and fishing are huge sports in Georgia, especially in Cherokee County. The Covid virus is keeping people in when the sun comes but the lakes and rivers in Cherokee county are seeing an early increase in public use. The fire department’s water rescue teams are also seeing an increase in responses.
Lake Allatoona, which is mostly in the southwestern part of Cherokee County, is one of the most popular lakes in the United States. Because of this, Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services has several water rescue units around the lake that are ready to respond to emergency calls when needed. Presently, the department is equipped with the latest protective equipment, tools, a dive rescue truck and 3 rescue boats. Plus, the department’s dive team is staffed with both full time and volunteer rescuers.
This year, the dive team has already been dispatched several times across the county to lakes and the Etowah River for accidents and help calls. Because of this, Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services shares some safety tips so our citizens will have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend.
Here are some water safety tips we want everyone to heed.
A number of water safety laws were passed to improve the use of life jackets and prevent drowning:
Children 12 years old and under must wear a lifejacket that fits them on moving boats in Georgia. Plus, they must wear a life jacket at ALL times while on the boat
And, recreational boats MUST carry one U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person aboard. The life jacket must be available and accessible. This is a nationwide Coast Guard rule.
Be prepared by making a float plan and let family know about it, too. Check river or stream conditions by contacting the United States Geological Survey or River guides online. Know where you are at all times on the rivers, use an app like the USNG, or Find Me SAR or Advensa to pinpoint your location by GPS, they are free apps.
Take life jackets, a rescue device, a cell phone, and someone who knows CPR when you are out on the water. Boaters should obtain their Boater Education Card and safety training even if you have boated for years.
Parents must tell their children about the dangers of open water at rivers, lakes, and beaches. Know where your child is, who they are with, and when they are expected home. Parents are powerful role models – if you wear a life jacket, it's more likely your children will too.
Learn more about water safety and drowning prevention from the Safe Kids Cherokee County website at www.safekidscherokee.org. You can also get additional information from the American Red Cross or the U. S. Corp of Engineers at www.pleasewearit.com.
Prevention and planning is the key to having a safe day on the water.
Have a Happy Memorial Day Weekend, but more importantly, Stay Safe!