JOPLIN, MO – With school out and families going on vacation, many people will enjoy some time at their favorite lake, creek, or river.
But public safety officials are pleading with them to be careful.
“It mean it absolutely obviously can save your life.” Says Chief Joe Perkins, Carl Junction Fire Chief.
You buckle your seat belts as soon as you get into a car, so why wouldn’t you put on a life jacket when you go out on the water?
That’s what public safety officials are pleading with residents to do when they go onto their favorite body of water.
Why? Because nearly 40 people have already drowned or died in boating accidents in Missouri this year and it’s not even July yet.
“You could have something as simple as a cramp, you know, you’ve been out on the water all day and maybe not hydrated, if you have a tendency to have a cramp, a cramp could cause you to not be able to keep yourself up above the water line.” Says Perkins.
If you’re boating impaired, not only are you putting your life and your family’s life in danger, you’re doing the same thing to these first responders.
These fire fighters from Joplin may look like they’re having fun in Shoal Creek, but what they’re really doing is practicing their swift water rescue navigation technique.
Training Dustin Lunow says they put into practice all too often.
“A life jacket will do a lot for you when you’re incapacitated if there was some sort of incident to where, some sort of boating incident where you were even unconsciousness, a life jacket will still protect you, uh in the state of Missouri everyone under 7 has to have a life jacket on a boat, um everybody else has to have one has to have one nearby, but you don’t always have that time.” Says Dustin Lunow, Joplin Fire Department Training Chief.
This month alone, at least 10 people have drowned in the show-me-state, 6 others have died in boating accidents.
The one thing they all have in common, none of those 16 were wearing life jackets.