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Rural Metro Fire on how to prevent watersports accidents


As the nation heads into the Memorial Day weekend, Rural Metro Fire in Central Arizona reminds Maricopa & Pinal County residents to be safe when boating and swimming in open water areas. In 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard reported more than 4,000 recreational boating accidents resulting in 658 deaths and 2,629 injuries. Each year, approximately 1.2 million people drown worldwide, with half of those being children. In addition, one-quarter of drowning victims are people who knew how to swim.

While drowning accidents can happen at any time of the year, incidents increase during warm weather months when more people enjoy water recreation. Most drowning incidents occur in open water, lakes, rivers, ponds, and the open sea, where lifeguards are limited. Shawn Gilleland, Public Information Officer for Rural Metro Fire in Central Arizona, has several
suggestions to help prevent water accidents. 

A few simple but vital steps to keep you safe while boating:

  • Always wear a lifejacket or personal floatation device
  • Take a boating safety course
  • Avoid alcohol use
  • Check the weather forecast before heading out
  • Learn to swim
  • Never stand up in your small powerboat, canoe or similar watercraft
  • Don't overload your boat
  • Use common sense and operate responsibly

Things to keep in mind when swimming:

  • Never swim alone
  • Only use approved flotation devices; do not rely on toys or inner tubes
  • Don't take chances by overestimating your swimming skills
  • Swim only in designated swimming areas
  • Watch small children near water
  • Never dive into rivers or lakes; each year nearly 3,000 people are paralyzed as a result of diving into shallow water or hitting an unseen underwater obstruction

To learn more about boating safety, please visit

About Rural Metro Fire Department
Rural Metro Fire is committed to providing fire protection and emergency services. Rural Metro Fire serves unincorporated communities around the nation, as well as commercial on-site industrial and AARF services. Our highly skilled firefighters, EMT's and paramedics strive to provide outstanding service on every call. Rural Metro Fire employs more than 7,500 people and answers 1.5 million calls for service, yearly. A subsidiary of American Medical Response, Rural Metro is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. For more information about Rural Metro Fire, visit Rural Metro Fire is part of the Global Medical Response family of companies. Global Medical Response, Inc. is the industry-leading air, ground, specialty and residential fire services, and managed medical transportation organization. With more than 38,000 employees, GMR delivers compassionate, quality medical care, primarily in the areas of emergency and patient relocation services in the United States and around the world. For more information, visit
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Monday, 22 July 2024

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