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Boone County Fire official stresses water safety as summer heats up

Boone County Fire official stresses water safety as summer heats up

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Temperatures are expected to reach the triple digits this week and fire officials are stressing the importance of water safety.

"It's important that people don't go out there alone," said Gale Blomenkamp, the Boone County Fire Protection District assistant chief. "Make sure that somebody knows what you're doing, where you're going to go and when they might expect you to be back."

As the pandemic era social distancing guidelines diminish, more people are expected to be out on the lakes and rivers, potentially bringing on a higher risk of water danger.

So far this year, the Missouri State Highway Patrol says at least 25 people have died from boat or drowning incidents within Troop F's range.

Blomenkamp says this is less common in Boone County but still something to look out and be prepared for.

"It's a surprise, water is very strong," Blomenkamp said. "It's very powerful and it can sweep you into areas that you don't want to go into, whether it's debris piles, whether it's the wing dikes, whether it's a pool, you know, so it's just something that catches people off-guard."

Blomenkamp says if you see someone drowning, call 911 and throw them something to float on until help arrives.

"The hard thing is as people walk might want to try to go get them," Blomenkamp said. "Two-thirds of all drownings are wouldn't be rescuers, so that means you're struggling in the water, I'm going to go help you, two-thirds of the time, I'm not coming back."

The CDC says more children 1-4 years die from drowning than any other cause of death, except birth defects.

Boone / Columbia / Health / Lifestyle / Local News / News / Top Stories / Video
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Zach Boetto

Zach Boetto anchors the weekend morning and weekday 9 a.m. & noon newscasts for ABC 17. You can find up-to-the-minute information on Zach’s social media, @ABC17Zach on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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