A local group plans to give out 1,000 life jackets to combat water fatalities

Local News

Kiwanis Club of Columbus presented a $5,000 check to Safe Kids Columbus that is working to secure the safety of residents in the region while they are visiting the Chattahoochee river.

The $5,000 check will fund 1,000 life jackets to be given out during what Columbus Fire and EMS says is the most common season for people drowning in the the Chattahoochee river. 

Since 2014, there have been 25 water fatalites in Muscogee county. The most being nine in 2015. Columbus Fire & EMS Fire Marshal Rickey Shores says that he encourages everyone to enjoy the warm weather this Spring and Summer, but to make sure they are doing it safely. 

“We want our citizens to understand that if you’re in this area near the Chattahoochee river that you’re river savvy that you understand more than the average person that’s not in an area that has a river attraction like this to be safe and to wear that personal flotation device,” Shores said.

Shores says that they average four to five drowning deaths a year and the ages vary. He hopes with the Kids Palooza event next month it will help kids in the area become more aware of precautions to take while on the river. 

“We have about 1,000 life jackets this year that we will be able to distribute from sizes of infant all the way to an adult for an older child. Our target is kids 14 years and older can receive a free life jacket if they complete the life jacket safety stations that will be part of the Kids Palooza,” Pam Fair, director of Safe Kids of Columbus said. 

Families are invited to the event to have a fun day in the sun and to learn more about the power of the Chattahochee river currents.

“Many times people can be afraid of the water and we don’t want them to be afraid of it. We just want them to respect it and look to the safety aspects of it,” Holli Browder, director of Parks and Recreation said. 

Fire Marshal Shores says there hasn’t been any water fatalities this year. Officials and event organizers say they hope this event will help keep that number at zero. 

The Kids Palooza event will be May 11th from 10a.m.-2 p.m. at the Pedestrian bridge

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