ALBANY, GA (WALB) - With summer and swimming season heating up, first responders want South Georgians to think water safety.
Over the weekend in Dougherty County there were two near tragic water incidents, and first responders want you to be safe in the pool, or on the river or lake.
Over the weekend several people were kayaking on the Flint River when they were surprised by the afternoon storm, and had to call firefighters for rescue. Fortunately they were wearing floatation devices, but Rangers urge that you have a float plan as well.
"Tell somebody where you are going, and give them contact information on how to get ahold of you. And where you will be putting in and taking out," said DNR Ranger Eric White.
Also over the weekend 18 year old Garrett McIntyre was critically hurt at a pool party, with dozens of people just feet away. Police urge you to always swim with a buddy, and have a responsible person watching parties.
"Parents be mindful of your children and where they are at. We are asking that parents lead by example, and not encourage their children to swim in those unauthorized locations," APD Corporal Brian Covington said.
First responders warn everyone not to swim at boat landings, the river, and most especially retention ponds, where swimmers can become trapped.
Albany Fire Department Battalion Chief Matthew Jefferson says, "If you fall into those ponds, the slopes are so steep and it's so slippery that you have a hard time getting out. We have to use rescue ropes in order to retrieve you from those type ponds."
It only takes seconds for unsafe swimmers or boaters to drown, and first responders are urging South Georgians to practice water safety at all times. "We want to prevent any tragedies." Covington said.
Rangers remind you that there are laws in Georgia about flotation devices being mandatory in boats, and for kids to wear them. According to the CDC , drowning is one of the leading causes of injury and death for young children, and the fifth leading cause of unintentional death for all ages.