Rescue crews give tips on how to stay safe on the waterways during the holiday weekend

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The unofficial start to summer is in full swing with crowds rushing to lakes and rivers in the greater Sacramento region on Sunday. 

Fire crews want to remind the public that safety needs to be a priority.

After two months of staying home to slow the spread of the coronavirus, David Ferguson and his son Nate were happy to return to some sense of normalcy.

For them, normalcy meant Memorial Day weekend at the American River.

Ferguson told FOX40 that they stayed away from other families and made sure to wear life vests.

“I think everybody needs to be out of the house sometimes, you know? As long as you keep your 6 feet distance, I think you’ll be alright,“ said Ferguson.

Rescue crews said the best way to protect yourself on the water is to wear a life vest, but a lot of people at the river were nervous about sharing vests, worried that it could spread the virus.

“It’s unlikely that a life jacket that is in water would have the virus adhere to it and be able to spread. But if you are concerned about that, get your own and don’t share it,” Sacramento Metro Fire Chris Vestal told FOX40.

Vestal said simply using soap and water to wash it down also works.

With snowmelt from the Sierra cooling the region’s waterways, Vestal said a flotation device is crucial.

“Water that cold can cause respiratory problems, breathing problems with only about a minute or two of exposure,” explained Vestal.

Due to this danger, rescue crews patrolled the river to make sure people were staying safe.

Extra park rangers were also out in force to ensure no one was drinking alcohol on the beaches and that families were keeping their distance.

“We see a lot of people and we don’t know whether they are people that they have been with the last couple of months,” said Vestal. “It’s important that you take it upon yourself that you keep your distance from people you’ve not already been around.”

If you do plan to enjoy some time outside, rescue crews remind you to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen because Memorial Day is expected to be hot.

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