Water Safety Tips for Summer

Summer is here and while the sun it out, the water is cold. Water safety is incredibly important, especially this time of year.

  • Wear a life jacket. Be sure it is Coast Guard approved (indicated on the label), is the right size and fits properly. If you are in need of a custom-fitted life jacket, please call 253.564.1623 or visit our website to request an appointment.
  • Know your limits, including physical fitness and medical conditions.
  • Always swim with a buddy.
  • Supervise children at all times in the water.
  • Swim in designated swim areas.
  • When in doubt, get out.

Please remember to call 9-1-1 immediately if someone is struggling in the water. The quicker first responders can access the patient, the better it is for their outcome. Once crews arrive, please help to clear the area so firefighters can get to the last known location of the patient. In certain areas, such as the swim areas at local parks, the beaches can be very busy, making access more difficult for incoming units.

Calling 9-1-1 from the water can be difficult if you are not familiar with the area. Look for the closest dock on one of our many lakes for a number and tell it to the dispatcher. Read more about our Lake Addressing Program and how it helps us to find you faster.

At any given time, at least three WPFR firefighters trained as rescue swimmers are on-duty in order to best protect the community. This ensures firefighters are able to safely enter the water and begin search efforts immediately. WPFR has both rescue swimmers and divers trained to respond within this life-saving program.

On average, WPFR responds to 35 water rescue incidents per year, both within lakes and Puget Sound. WPFR has three boats strategically placed throughout the fire district, two of which respond to the many lakes. The third, Fireboat Endeavor, is moored at Narrows Marina and responds to Puget Sound. Fireboat Endeavor is a regional asset that not only responds to incidents within WPFR’s jurisdiction, but assists other local agencies, should help be needed.

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