Park rangers and doctors stress safety over holiday weekend

Posted at 3:46 PM, May 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-26 19:01:27-04

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and doctors at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center are stressing the importance of being safe during Memorial Day weekend.

Park rangers will be out at area lake parks making sure people are following the rules while on the water.

"We do do patrols. We'll go to boat ramps and talk to boaters and have some water safety handouts and some frisbees. We'll be out in the boat checking for life jackets," McGowan said.

Those rules include children 13-years-old and younger wearing life jackets while on a boat and adults having the life jackets readily available. 

Park Ranger Erin McGowan has noticed people who don't keep their life jackets in an accessible place.

"We'll ask people to hold up their life jackets and it takes them 30 seconds to get it. That's not going to cut it if something happens to them on the lake," McGowan said.

McGowan stressed making sure your life jacket is easily accessible.

"It only takes 20 seconds for a child to drown and 60 seconds for an adult to drown," McGowan said. "Drowning is really a silent killer so the best thing to do is wear your life jacket. Because once you're underwater and can't breathe, you can't splash around, you aren't screaming for help. You're putting yourself and everyone around you in some danger."

Dr. Randy Hartman, the physician medial director of the emergency department at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest, stressed wearing life jackets, too. 

Hartman also said during May and June, they see more heat-related injuries.

"The temperatures are climbing and our bodies have not acclimated to the summer heat yet. So we don't think about drinking more water. We don't think about applying more sunscreen," Hartman said. "You really do have to think about it. And you have to remember to check your life preservers in your boat. You have to remember to apply sunscreen. You have to remember to clean your grill and practice fire safety."

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