As Memorial Day Weekend looms, first responders caution water safety

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – Summer may not officially start until June 21, but first responders are already worried about the above average number of drowning in the past few months.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, there have been 15 drownings in Missouri since March 22.

Battalion Chief Mark Digman, Metro West Fire Protection District, said that number seems surprisingly high this early in the season, and the thing about drownings is that most of them are preventable.

Digman said at the beginning of the summer, people’s swimming skills are rusty and the water is colder which makes motor skills slower. He suggests parents keep a close eye on their kids and if you are swimming in water where you can’t see the bottom, you should wear a life jacket.

Digman said a lot of the time, rivers are more dangerous than big lakes, so don’t assume you are safe because the water appears to be shallower.

He said usually if the summer starts out with a lot of drownings it will continue that way.

“There really is not rhyme or reason to it unfortunately they do tend to come in streaks but it is a good opportunity when we do see those streaks occurring to get in front of it, and remind the public to use proper safety precaution wear proper flotation devices and use the buddy system,” said Digman.