DART on High Alert as More People Flock to Local Rivers to Cool Down

Local News
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SACRAMENTO — Tiscornia Park was packed with swimmers and boaters soaking in the sunshine Sunday.

Rescuers say the crowds are leading to issues, especially since many people aren’t wearing life vests.

“People are looking for a place to go enjoy themselves on a hot weekend. The river is a great location as long as you do it safely,” said Capt. Brian Gonsalves with the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.

But not everyone has safety top of mind.

Saturday alone, Sacramento Metro firefighters rescued more than 20 people from the American River, taking three to the hospital.

“The biggest mistakes are people taking pool toys out onto the river,” Gonsalves said. “The river is a moving body of water and you really have to take the proper equipment out there to enjoy it safely.”

Pool floats can easily pop, leaving swimmers stranded.

Alcohol can also become a big issue.

“Remember, it’s a moving body of water. It’ll push you wherever it wants you to go. If you’re a good swimmer, you’re still going to have a tough time, especially if you’re intoxicated,” Gonsalves explained.

He says the best way to protect yourself is to wear a life vest. It’s why the Drowning Accident Rescue Team spent Sunday handing them out.

“Today, like every weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day, we’re out here patrolling the water,” Caroline Wilkinson with DART said.

DART is ready to step in if swimmers or boaters need their help.

“People think just because it’s in the 100s out here the water’s going to be really cool and refreshing but you can still get hypothermic in cold water when the air temperature is hot,” Wilkinson said. “So, just being careful that you’re limiting your time in the water.”

Rescuers say they are happy people are out having a good time, but they want you to keep safety in mind. They’re hoping next weekend won’t be quite so busy.

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