Seattle heat wave has agencies urging caution out on water

More people will be taking to the water to cool off this week, and Seattle Fire is among authorities urging everyone to keep safety in mind.

SEATTLE — More people will be taking to the water to cool off this week, and the Seattle Fire Department is among agencies urging everyone to keep safety in mind.

On Monday, Fiorella Rietti and her family, visiting from Portland, made East Green Lake Beach a vacation destination. When they arrived the sun was shining and the temperatures were in the 80’s. They were also greeted by a sign reading “No lifeguard on duty.”

Seattle Parks and Recreation reports that a lack of lifeguards is the reason. Last month, the agency said it has fewer than 200 lifeguards and needs more than double that number to staff the city’s nine beaches and 10 pools.

“People will still enjoy water with or without a lifeguard,” said Lt. Dan Johanns.

Lt. Johanns is one of the Seattle Fire Department’s 40 Rescue Divers.

“Our program has been in existence for five years and we’ve had five legitimate savings that can be made in that time,” he said.

According to the University of Washington Medicine, 29 people drowned in King County alone last year.

“Please be careful and always swim with a mate, always be careful. If you ever see anyone in need please call 911 immediately,” said Lt. Johanns.

“I grew up in the water and I really respect the water because honestly it’s like there’s an undercurrent that you can get sucked into,” Rietti said.

She said everyone in her family is required to wear life jackets in the water, and her two children can swim.

Seattle Fire also recommends swimming lessons for anyone who needs to learn. The city offers programs, but these swimming classes can fill up quickly.

If the community would like to support the department’s lifeguard program, they can donate to the Seattle Fire Foundation.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/seattle/heat-wave-begins-seattle-agencies-urging-caution-on-water/281-78daa665-7fb1-4e69-beb5-3d9f9c551b85 Seattle heat wave has agencies urging caution out on water

Alley Einstein

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