Spokane businesses join forces to promote river safety


by Ashley Korslien & KREM.com


Posted on July 23, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 9 at 1:37 AM

SPOKANE-- Authorities say ten people have died this year in Spokane County rivers, and none of them were wearing life vests. Now some businesses are trying to encourage more people to buy lifejackets to prevent another river tragedy.
General Store Manager Jon Evans believes a life jacket is worth every penny. “It doesn't look as cool, I understand that. When it comes to your life, what does it matter?”

In wake of several river deaths the General Store will offer 40% off all life jackets this Thursday as part of a county wide push to increase safety awareness.

This weekend multiple agencies are teaming up to educate the public on the rules of the river.

Spokane Riverkeeper, part of a network of 200 water protection groups worldwide, is emphasizing this message as part of Swimmable Action Day this Thur., July 26.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists failure to wear a life jacket as among the top reasons people drown.  Others include a lack of swimming lessons or ability, alcohol consumption and a lack of supervision. People should also be aware that it’s illegal to be on a watercraft, including canoes, inflatable rafts or inner tubes, and kayaks, on the Spokane River without a life jacket.

The Spokane Sheriff’s Office will conduct a roving patrol of the river July 28, and cite residents who fail to wear a lifejacket, a $76 fine. Officials say they will also provide education to these residents.

Spokane Regional Health District partnered with Big 5 Sporting Goods stores to offer a 25% off coupon for life jackets, through Sept. 30, available on the health district Web site by clicking here.

Spokane Regional Health District also developed a Designated Child Watcher Tag for use by parents who are supervising children during water recreation activities. These activities include swimming at the pool or the beach, and boating, especially when a group of children are present at waterside social gatherings such as barbecues or birthday parties. The tag contains rescue steps and rescue breathing tips for children and infants to assist a child watcher needing to respond to a submersion incident. A whistle is attached for signaling the attention of children involved in water play. A brochure also accompanies the tag with information regarding responsible supervision of children around water activities, both at home and away from home, with an emphasis on designating a responsible adult to watch the children.

The Designated Child Watcher tags and brochures are being distributed at local community events and are available free to the public by contacting Spokane Regional Health District at 324-1560 x4.