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Water rescues begin to peak as NorCal heats up. How to be safe

The classic trademarks of peak water rescue season have begun, as temperatures rise and thousands begin to head to Sacramento lakes and rivers, according to the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.“When you hear lights and sirens from our boat on the river do your best to get off to the side,” said Ryan Pittman, a Sacramento Metro Fire Department captain, as he took KCRA 3 on a tour toured of their rescue boat.On average over the last year, Metro Fire reports having rescued more than a person a week from both Sacramento rivers and lakes.“The water is really cold and a lot of people aren’t expecting it when it’s a hot day,” Pittman said.Saturday night Metro Fire pulled a person from the American River who had been caught by the current. That person is in critical condition.Meanwhile, during the same timeframe Saturday night, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office reported a man in his 50’s drowned while swimming with his family in the San Joaquin River.KCRA 3 visited local lakes and rivers to see what precautions people were taking.“We made sure we have the life vest for the kids,” said Taylor Pendleton, a mother who brought her two toddlers down to the American River on Sunday afternoon.“We will definitely keep close eyes on them because they’re still pretty little,” Pendleton said.Drownings only account for a fraction of water rescues, according to Sacramento City Fire Department.“The vast majority of incidence we respond to out on the river are for alcohol-related emergencies that caused accidents,” said Capt. Keith Wade with the fire department.Wade explained their department is called to many boat and jet ski accidents, as well as many medical calls because of boat propeller injuries, swimmers hit by watercraft and assaults both on and offshore. Wade explained most of their water-related emergency calls are fueled by alcohol.“Accidents happen when you mix alcohol into these situations you can quickly have an emergency,” Wade said.Both Metro Fire and the Sacramento City Fire Department advise wearing an appropriately sized life vest while in or near water.Both departments explained many swimmers, even advanced swimmers, can encounter emergencies in Sacramento-area lakes and rivers because of unseen undercurrents, cold water temperatures and debris.

The classic trademarks of peak water rescue season have begun, as temperatures rise and thousands begin to head to Sacramento lakes and rivers, according to the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.

“When you hear lights and sirens from our boat on the river do your best to get off to the side,” said Ryan Pittman, a Sacramento Metro Fire Department captain, as he took KCRA 3 on a tour toured of their rescue boat.

On average over the last year, Metro Fire reports having rescued more than a person a week from both Sacramento rivers and lakes.

“The water is really cold and a lot of people aren’t expecting it when it’s a hot day,” Pittman said.

Saturday night Metro Fire pulled a person from the American River who had been caught by the current. That person is in critical condition.

Meanwhile, during the same timeframe Saturday night, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office reported a man in his 50’s drowned while swimming with his family in the San Joaquin River.

KCRA 3 visited local lakes and rivers to see what precautions people were taking.

“We made sure we have the life vest for the kids,” said Taylor Pendleton, a mother who brought her two toddlers down to the American River on Sunday afternoon.

“We will definitely keep close eyes on them because they’re still pretty little,” Pendleton said.

Drownings only account for a fraction of water rescues, according to Sacramento City Fire Department.

“The vast majority of incidence we respond to out on the river are for alcohol-related emergencies that caused accidents,” said Capt. Keith Wade with the fire department.

Wade explained their department is called to many boat and jet ski accidents, as well as many medical calls because of boat propeller injuries, swimmers hit by watercraft and assaults both on and offshore. Wade explained most of their water-related emergency calls are fueled by alcohol.

“Accidents happen when you mix alcohol into these situations you can quickly have an emergency,” Wade said.

Both Metro Fire and the Sacramento City Fire Department advise wearing an appropriately sized life vest while in or near water.

Both departments explained many swimmers, even advanced swimmers, can encounter emergencies in Sacramento-area lakes and rivers because of unseen undercurrents, cold water temperatures and debris.

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