Staying safe in the heat, water this holiday weekend

Updated: Jul. 3, 2020 at 6:24 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - As families prepare to have fun this Fourth of July, first responders want you to remain vigilant.

Many families are breaking out of quarantine to enjoy out-of-the-house fun this holiday weekend.

“At least two dozen calls, which is a little tick above where we should be normally,” Chesterfield Assistant Fire Chief John Boatwright said, as calls came in before noon on Friday.

Chesterfield Fire officials hope this isn’t a sign of the weekend ahead.

“You need to hydrate well before you go out. Whether that’s 24-48 hours before the heat even hits,” Boatwright said.

The time to prepare the family should happen before you step outside to face the hot and humid holiday temperatures. If you overdo it outside, officials want you to know the warning signs of heat exhaustion.

“First signs are fatigue and dizziness, blurred vision and things of that sort,” Boatwright said.

“Our shift starts before we even come on duty. I’m hydrating yesterday for today,” Chesterfield Fire Captain Bryce Ford said.

Ford and his team of 33 dive and rescue members want to make sure everyone who jumps in the water will walk out alive.

“Be mindful, whether there’s a lifeguard on duty or not - you should still watch your children and other children,” Ford said.

Ford recommends personal flotation devices for every member of the family and to make sure you are vigilant.

“You should understand the rivers are tidal. You can get out to certain points and the tides change, and you can’t get back in for a certain amount of hours,” Ford said.

Ford and his team have a collection of hard bottom boats and inflatable boats that can be used for different environments.

No matter the situation, there are trained and equipped first responders standing by ready to help.

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