Fire district offers water safety tips


By Pagosa Fire Protection District
Special to The SUN
Pagosa Country is full of lakes, streams and rivers. Knowing how to be water wise is essential to safeguard yourself and those around you. Water safety includes knowing the water and the hazards in it and about having respect for the water.
General water safety rules
Always wear a correctly fitting U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Always provide close and constant attention to anyone (children, teens and adults) you are supervising in or near the water. Learn how to recognize a drowning person; the signs are often subtle and could be overlooked. Learn CPR and first aid in case you encounter an emergency.
Lake safety
Do not dive into the water. Jumping from cliffs or bridges is dangerous due to shallow water, submerged rocks, trees or other hazards. Always swim with a buddy. Colorado lakes are considered “cold-water lakes,” even in the warm summer months. Know the signs of hypothermia and limit prolonged exposure to the cold water.
River safety
Rivers often contain currents and water movements which you cannot see from the surface. It is almost impossible to remain standing in waist-deep water traveling at 4 mph. If the water is over your ankles, fast-flowing water can easily knock over an adult and make it extremely difficult to get back up. If you fall into fast-moving water, lay back with your feet downstream, toes pointing up toward the surface, looking downstream in order to spot obstructions.