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With temperatures rising, Okanagan search and rescue group urges water safety

File photo of Vernon Search and Rescue. VSAR

With summer now underway, Vernon Search and Rescue issued a reminder this week to be water-ready when venturing out onto local lakes and rivers.

The non-profit agency says it was called out to three water-related rescues last week.

One case was ideal because the subjects did everything right and were well-prepared. VSAR said that rescue was quick because the subjects had proper safety equipment and reliable communication.

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According to B.C. Search and Rescue, there are 78 rescue groups across the province, with 2,100 people being rescued annually.

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With sunny skies in the forecast, here are some things to keep in mind for water safety:

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  • Local rivers are flowing fast from snowmelt
  • Water temperatures are cold
  • Muscle movement can be lost quickly in cold water
  • Hypothermia is possible on hot days
  • Lifejackets save lives

“We would also like to remind everyone that search and rescue in B.C. is always free,” said VSAR. “Please do not hesitate to call 911 as soon as you think you need assistance.

“We love what we do, and, as long as we can respond safely, we will come and help.”

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The reminder comes after emergency crews in Okanagan Falls were unable to revive a drowning victim on Thursday.

More information about water safety is available online on the federal government’s website.

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