Grays Harbor Fire District #2 wants to remind those in our community and those visiting our area to stop, think and look before jumping into local area rivers and lakes as the summer temperatures roll in this week.
Area rivers are still colder than most would think due to a slow warming trend this year and that may take some by surprise when hitting the water.
There are health risks that one should consider when jumping into water that is considered 20 degrees or more less than the outside temperature. Cold water shock is something that should be considered before jumping into cold water that is a condition that causes a gasp reflex, that can result in water inhalation, hyperventilation, changes in heart rate and rhythm and blood pressure, and panic. All of these reactions may result in death, hypothermia and drownings especially for those with pre-existing medical conditions.
District 2 had a crew checking local area river surface temperatures late Saturday afternoon seeing river temperatures at 57 degrees at Schaffer State Park, Satsop Bridges at 60 degrees, Twin Bridges County Park at 63 Degrees as well as the Black Creek Boat Launch on the Wynoochee River at 63 degrees.
River temperatures can vary depending on depth, tree shades, currents and many other factors and should never be ignored.
Look before jumping into any river or lake area by first visually checking the area looking for large rocks, trees, and even trash or items that you or your children could get cut on. Swimming the area before considering a location for jumping into and understanding the depth of what you are swimming in is extremely important. Depth of water should be at least ½ of the depth of the distance jumped from or more.
Log jams can be considered very dangerous on rivers due to river flow. River currents can grab a person and pull them down under the log jam making it difficult to get out from. If the water is swift and deep enough one could be pulled under the water unable to get out.
Consider a life jacket for children and teens and adults no matter the depth of the water. As embarrassing at it may seem sometimes a life jacket could save a life.