‘Be prepared’: Saskatoon Fire reminds residents about water safety during heat wave

South Sask. River. Brady Ratzlaff / Global News

The Saskatoon Fire Department reminded Saskatchewan residents that water safety should always be top of mind as people try to beat the heat this week, enjoying lakes and rivers around the province.

“Be prepared,” Saskatoon Fire Department deputy chief Rob Hogan said. “Have a life jacket, water and your cellphone in a protective case. Tell someone where you are going.”

He also reminded residents to keep an eye on fast-changing weather.

Click to play video: '‘Be prepared’: Saskatoon Fire reminds residents about water safety during heat wave'
‘Be prepared’: Saskatoon Fire reminds residents about water safety during heat wave
Click to play video: 'Warmer temperatures take over the prairies'
Warmer temperatures take over the prairies

Hogan said the South Saskatchewan river running through Saskatoon is higher now than over the last few weeks.

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“It’s important when you are on the river that you understand the dynamics of what is going on, the current, the flow, the bottom might not be the same from day to day,” he said.

According to Saskatchewan RCMP, there have been three drowning deaths in the province over the last week in Peter Pond Lake, Lake Diefenbaker and Helene Lake.

The deaths were not related, one involving a boater, one a paddleboarder and the other a canoer.

Hogan said if someone were to come across someone who has drowned, they should call 911 and try to help first responders.

“Stay as close to the scene to where the person drowned,” he said. “Try to know where the person was when you saw them drown. It’s important to collect as much information and pass it on to the first responders and firefighters when we get there.”

Joan Steckhan, owner of the Prairie Lily asked anyone on the river in Saskatoon to be aware of the riverboat as it cruises down the water.

“She’s 107 tonnes and she doesn’t stop,” Steckhan said, adding they will blow the horn if someone is in the boats path.

She also reminded other boaters to be aware of the sandbars and shallow areas that might pop up unexpectedly.

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“Last week we saw a boat and they went just ripping down the river and then it took them about two hours to push the boat back to the boat launch after they probably done something that damaged their engine because it’s so shallow. If you don’t know where the channel is, you are going to hit something.”

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