ATCEMS, APD give tips to stay safe in the heat, water this summer

As the days get hotter and stay longer, more people are taking advantage on the water or on land. But that means a greater chance for something to go wrong.

"Especially with the rough year we had last year, people are wanting to get out into the outdoors," said Paul Mallon, district commander for Austin-Travis County EMS. "Definitely during the nicer weather you have a significant increase in wilderness rescues."

ATCEMS has seen its fair share already. Some tips they provided for the trail - take note of your body temperature, not just how much water you’re drinking. Also, know where you’ll be, have a charged phone and tell a friend.

On the water, APD’s Lake Patrol unit has responded to six drownings this year.

"A lot of those happened to be on paddleboards where someone fell off their paddleboard and could not swim or weren’t strong swimmers and, unfortunately, they lost their life," said Sr. Officer John Carrasco with APD’s Lake Patrol.

Paddleboarders and kayakers are required to have a life jacket on board. Boats must have one life jacket on board per person. Those 13 and younger are required to wear one at all times.

Boats are also required to have a noise-making device and flotation device on board, if they are larger than 16 feet. The driver must also be attached to the safety lanyard, which acts as a kill switch for the engine if they are thrown off.

"The issue we’ve had is very inexperienced boaters that are coming out here," said Carrasco. "We want people to come out here and really enjoy the water, but we have to understand that we’re out in nature."

For more safety resources from ATCEMS, click here. To access a Texas Parks and Wildlife boater education course, click here.

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