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Public Safety: Like a Seat Belt, Life Vest Will Save Your Life
Author:admin    Add time:3/6/2015    Source:REAJOY    

Amherst County, VA - It's that time of year where water-related deaths become all too common.In fact, drowning is the third leading cause of death from unintentional injury worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

A man operating a boat drowned after jumping into a lake on a farm in Amelia to help another person struggling to swim to the boat. Authorities say 25-year-old Rodrigo Elizondo pushed off the lake's shore without paddles for his boat. Our sister station, WRIC says Elizondo called to a person onshore to bring paddles to him.

Closer to home, there has been some close calls. Recently, a man wading across the Maury River slipped and went under. In Amherst County, public safety officials tell me they helped save a couple of people who flipped their canoes at Balcony Falls.

But it's a problem we see every year.

"A lot of people feel like they know the waterways or have been on the waterways for a great period of time and these type of things and a lot of the time, it's 'it can't happen to me,'" said Gary Roakes. "However, it can."

Roakes, public safety director for Amherst County, says each year he sees swimmers and boaters forgetting to wear life jackets. According to the CDC, 88 percent of boat drowning victims weren't wearing life jackets.

"It's like wearing a seat belt in the car: wearing a personal floating device will save your life and it can make a big difference," said Roakes.

But it goes beyond that. It's already getting hotter and that's where heat exhaustion can truly affect you, even if you're out floating on the water, says Roakes.

"You need to stay hydrated with water, Gatorade, those type of things and particularly on those hotter days so that your body doesn't get overheated," said Roakes.

Roakes says the best way to stay safe on the water: avoid alcohol.

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