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Wear a life jacket, say fire officials

5:23 PM, Jul 4, 2012   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - There were a lot of people putting their rafts in the water at Sunrise Bridge without life jackets this 4th of July, but there were also a lot of people wearing them. 

If you're under 13, the law says you have to.

But officials said, the reluctance to don the life saving vests seems to be waning.

"I do see a lot more folks wearing a life jacket," Sacreamento Metro Fire's River Boat Patrol Capt. Adam Mitchell said. "I love to see the kids and even the younger generation coming out and they do have a lot of life jackets now as they did not before."

It's easy enough to get hold of one. Sacramento Metro Fire had a table set up, lending the "personal flotation devices" to anyone requesting one.

"If you look at the trend over the years, there's been a decrease in the amount of drownings in the river," Battalion Chief Bill Turner said. "I think in part it's due to these good people passing out the vests!"

Turner said the river may look peaceful, but looks can be deceiving.

"The current is a lot faster than people think and the water temperature is a lot colder than many people think," Turner said. "There are also a lot of things in the river that you can't see from the surface."

Turner's advice to anyone going out on the river this summer:

"Have fun, enjoy yourself but be safe. Be aware how dangerous the river is. Don't underestimate it."

By Jonathan Mumm, jmumm@news10.net

News10/KXTV

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