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Summer safety comes with responsibility: What first responders want you to know

Jun 01, 2021 05:23AM ● By Editor
Photo: KBJR-TV

By Emma Quinn of KBJR-TV - May 31, 2021

Despite COIVD-19, the summer of 2020 was the second busiest year in the St. Louis County rescue squads 65-year history.

The rescue squad went on a record-breaking 175 wilderness search and rescues, 93 water operations, and responded to 149 vehicle accidents.

"This is the busiest time of year for us, people traveling," said Rescue Squad Captain Rick Slatten. "We'll get more car accidents, obviously we'll get more calls in the Boundary Waters, we had two this week already"

First responders are reminding everyone to be responsible this summer season.
For those on the water, they say wear your life jacket but put it on before heading out.

"A life jacket is extremely difficult to get on while you're in the water," said Captain Kevin Haney of Duluth Fire Department. "Generally, if you end up in the water and not supposed to be, you've had some type of accident you can get hit in the head and not be able to get the life jacket on."

First responders advise saving any alcohol consumption for after you get off the boat.

"It definitely limits people's ability to react when they're in the boats. Swimmers have a more difficult time on alcohol," said Captain Haney.

According to Rescue Squad officials, one hour on the water is the equivalent of taking a shot of whiskey on an empty stomach due to the vibrations coming up from the boat and the sunlight beaming off the water.

For anyone driving ATVs, first responders say wear a helmet, buckle your seatbelt, and know where you can ride.

"ATVs are not designed for hard pavement, where a lot of these accidents just occur is just cruising around the driveway, cruising around the yard," said Captain Slatten. "You turn too hard the tires bite in and throws you over the handlebars. We see a lot of head trauma that way."

Fire department officials say kids should always be monitored when out on a boat or swimming in the water.

They recommend having a partner when out on the water or riding around.

To watch a video version of the original report and related stories, follow this link to the KBJR-TV website.

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