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PSA: Paramedics and police are reminding the public to plan for safe activity as we approach the long weekend

As the weather gets warmer, and with many families taking vacation in the days ahead, more people head for the ocean, lakes, rivers, and pools.
Couple kayaking with life jackets on
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Be sure to follow these tips and precautions for water safety: 

  • Wear a personal flotation device on or near the water. Don’t just have one on the boat or at the beach – please wear it properly.
  • Never assume that a child who knows how to swim isn't at risk for drowning.
  • Adults should be within an arm’s reach of children in the water at all times and provide ‘touch supervision’ to infants, toddlers, and weak swimmers.
  • Always empty small, above-ground wading pools after use. Even a few centimeters of water left in an inflatable pool can be hazardous for a child.
  • Clear all toys from pools when not in use to ensure children do not attempt to retrieve them later on.
  • If you’re at the beach, do not allow children to swim in large waves or undertows.
  • Talk to children about the dangers of water and ensure they follow rules and directions.
  • Never mix alcohol or drugs with any water activity, including tubing and boating.
“We want everyone to have a safe and memorable long weekend – by just considering these tips, we can ensure that your weekend is enjoyable,” said paramedic and paramedic public information officer Brian Twaites. “Not only does this apply to B.C. residents, but we also want visitors to our province to take extra care when they are near water – know the conditions and be prepared. These are simple steps that can help you to be responsible when enjoying all the recreational activities this province has to offer.”

“The Kelowna Regional RCMP will be actively patrolling Okanagan Lake throughout the summer and Canada Day long weekend alike,” said Corporal Michael Gauthier, Media Relations Officer, Kelowna Regional RCMP. 

“This is a stark reminder that operating a vessel while impaired is not only dangerous and careless, but a criminal offence and we have zero tolerance for same. Possession of open liquor on a boat is not permitted unless your vessel meets specific criteria. Please research this information before you consider taking liquor on board as you may be subject to a $230 fine otherwise. We want everyone visiting and living in our beautiful city to make the most out of these amazing summers, and we do this by encouraging everyone’s safety. Happy Canada Day!”

According to the most recently available data from the BC Coroners Service (PDF), fatal drownings occur most often in the summer months. Interior Health Authority accounts for just over one-third of those deaths.

“Many of these deaths are preventable,” Twaites said. “And we know by sharing information with the public we can make a positive difference by reminding people of the steps they can take to ensure safety near, in and on the water this long weekend and for the summer months ahead. On behalf of your local paramedics, thank you for keeping things safe around the water this summer.”

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