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Snohomish rescue crews prepare kids for deadliest time of year on the water

Snohomish County is working to reduce water injuries and deaths through safety classes for kids.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — Summer vacation can be a dangerous time for children, particularly when they go swimming.

Kids in Snohomish County are especially at risk because of the large number of lakes and rivers.

Over the past 2 years, the team has responded to some 80 water rescue calls. 8 people drowned in Snohomish County just last year.

Now members of the Snohomish County Fire District 7 Water Rescue Team are holding a summer camp, designed to keep children safe on the water.

"We saw this happening in our community and we had to step up," said Fire District 7's Heather Chadwick.

The camp teaches kids the rules of water safety: always wear a life vest, never take a float intended for a pool onto a river because they can easily puncture. And never go into the water alone.

"We're hoping with the kids, if we start them young, we can maybe influence their parents, start those conversations at home and start changing those habits from the bottom up," said Chadwick, a former school teacher.

Team members urge parents to always have an adult watch children whenever they're in the water -- someone who won't be distracted by a cell phone.

Drownings often happen quickly and silently.

"There usually isn't the splashing and flailing like you see in the movies," says Chadwick.

"We're all moms and dads," said team member Pat Gjerde. "It's the worst thing I've dealt with on the job."

"If parents don't think it's going to happen they're fooling themselves," added Gjerde. "The reality is it can happen to anybody at any time and it's usually happening when they least expect it."

The camps are free, but registration is limited. Fire District 7 is offering one more session on August 8 in Lake Stevens. Find more information here.

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