Richmond Fire offers water-safety tips for unofficial start of summer

Updated: May. 28, 2018 at 2:05 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (AP) - Richmond's Department of Fire and Emergency wants your family to stay safe while enjoying a dip in the river - or any body of water - this summer.

The James River Park System makes Richmond the only urban city in the country with Class IV white water rapids in the middle of downtown. But that fun and beauty comes with some danger if you aren't prepared.

Here's some tips to keep your family safe:

  • Make sure everyone learns to swim well and swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear approved life jackets around water
  • By law, if water levels on the James are at 5 feet and above, everyone on the river must wear an approved life jacket.
    • Water levels for the James can be checked by calling the National Weather Service at (804) 646-8228 (option 1, followed by option 4)
  • Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious wading around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes.
  • Never mix alcohol and water activities
    • Alcohol isn’t allowed in city parks or pools without written permission.
  • If you’re at a home or city pool, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets, and a first aid kit.

The city will be operating a two-person bike team every Saturday and Sunday on Belle Isle, in addition to Memorial Day, Labor Day and July Fourth.

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