Swim safely: Sacramento Fire Department offering free life jacket rentals

With Memorial Day 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.

“Tragically, we already have seen at least two drownings in our rivers this year,” said Sac Fire Capt. Keith Wade. “We are working 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.”

“People may think that currents are slower this year because of the ongoing drought, but that is not the case,” said Daniel Bowers, director of the Office of Emergency Management. “The water right now is very cold from the snow melt and flowing fast. If people are going to safely swim in our rivers, they need to be aware of the conditions and take the proper precautions.”

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.

Here is the list of Sac Fire stations where residents can borrow life jackets for the day or weekend at no cost:

Station 1 — 324 Q St.
Station 5 — 731 Broadway
Station 8 — 5990 H St.
Station 11 — 785 Florin Road
Station 15 — 1640 West El Camino Ave.
Station 60 — 3301 Julliard Dr.

In addition, 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.
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