Sunday, May 17, 2009

River Safety

We applaud this safety effort from public leadership to reduce drowning in our rivers, and to the Sacramento Bee and other local media who covered it.

As with most public safety related issues, a little bit of education goes a long way.

An excerpt from the Bee article.

“They are two of the Sacramento region's most prized natural resources – ecological marvels that offer beauty to the landscape and recreation to its residents.

“They also offer heartbreak and loss.

“If history holds true, eight people will drown in the Sacramento and American rivers this year, most of them in the coming months.

“The victims will lose their footing on uneven river bottoms, or fall victim to a current, or tire while swimming and slip below the water's surface, becoming part of the rivers' sorrowful legacy.

“So deadly are the bodies of water that the Sacramento area's open-water drowning rate is nearly twice the national average – and growing, according to a study by Niko King, a battalion chief with the Sacramento Fire Department. (His study did not include drownings in places like swimming pools, spas or sloughs in the county.)

“Over the last 37 years, an average of about six people have drowned in the rivers annually in Sacramento County. In the last five years, however, that average has climbed to eight. In 2008, the last year of the study, the total was 11.

“The statistics are "alarming," King said, but critical in underscoring for the public the dangers they face at a river.

“King said many people "just don't know the hazards exist."