Cool off safely this summer: Sacramento Fire Department offers free life jacket rentals

With hotter temperatures quickly approaching, the Sacramento Fire Department and the City of Sacramento’s Office of Emergency Management are urging swimmers and boaters to be cautious and wear life jackets in waterways this summer.

“What we are seeing is that many people didn’t do a lot of swimming last year because of the pandemic,” said Sac Fire Capt. Keith Wade. “Our goal is to remind people of the risks of swimming in our local waterways and the best practices for keeping themselves and their loved ones safe. This includes wearing a life jacket, which you can rent for free from our fire stations.”

Fire stations in the Sacramento region offer life jackets to the public on a loan basis. Life jackets are available for children and adults and can be borrowed for the day or weekend simply by completing a form.

“It may not be common knowledge, but lower water levels can create just as many swimming hazards as higher water levels,” said Daniel Bowers, director of the City’s Office of Emergency Management. “Lower levels, like we are experiencing this year, can lead to exposed debris as well as deceptive currents. Awareness of these conditions and the proper preparation – including the wearing of a life jacket – can literally be the difference between life and death.”

Here are a few more water safety tips from the fire department:

  • Always wear a life jacket.
  • Never swim alone and never go in the water after drinking alcohol.
  • Stay within arm’s length of inexperienced swimmers.
  • Always watch children in and around water. Assign a water watcher. Don’t assume someone else is watching. Drowning is quick and silent, it can happen in seconds.
  • Drain inflatable pools and coolers after each use. A toddler can drown in just one inch of water.
  • Call 911 right away if someone is in trouble.
  • Learn CPR.
  • Wear sunscreen.

Below are fire station locations, five of which are offering free life jackets for loan and firefighters will help get those in need properly fitted with a life jacket (see little life vest icons):

Find more water safety tips on the SFD’s website. 

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