US Army Corps of Engineers
Kansas City District

Celebrate safely this Independence Day weekend

Published July 2, 2019
Tragically, several people lose their lives while visiting USACE lands and waters every year. The majority of the tragedies are water-related. The public’s help is needed to reduce the number of fatalities at the more than 2,800 USACE-managed recreation areas nationwide. USACE personnel stress the importance of water safety year-round when talking with visitors, but especially during the summer season because that is when most public recreation fatalities occur.

Tragically, several people lose their lives while visiting USACE lands and waters every year. The majority of the tragedies are water-related. The public’s help is needed to reduce the number of fatalities at the more than 2,800 USACE-managed recreation areas nationwide. USACE personnel stress the importance of water safety year-round when talking with visitors, but especially during the summer season because that is when most public recreation fatalities occur.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —The ‘dog days of summer’ are upon us and millions of Americans will find refuge from the heat at pools, ponds, lakes, rivers and streams across our nation during the Independence Day weekend. The Kansas City District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reminds everyone that no matter the size of the water you recreate in you should never forget about water safety.

Here are some tips to remember when you are in or around the water this 4th of July:

  • Alcohol and water do not mix. When under the influence of alcohol and underwater, you can suffer from an inner ear condition (caloric labyrinthitis) that causes you to become disoriented and not know which way is up.
  • High water and flooding conditions still persist. Many lakes, rivers, and streams are still at flood stage from record rainfall this spring. Keep an eye out for visible and submerged objects while on the water. Avoid swift currents that make boating difficult and unsafe.
  • Give your life jacket an annual checkup. Test the buckles, stitches, straps, and fabric to make sure everything is still in good shape. A life jacket will not save your life if it can no longer function as intended. Your life is worth more than a $40 purchase from the local outdoor store.
  • Prepare for sudden weather changes. Anyone from the Midwest knows that if you wait 10 minutes the weather will change. Don’t get caught on the water in severe weather. If you are caught in an unexpected storm make sure everyone has on their life jackets and have them sit on the bottom of the boat close to the centerline.
  • Leave fireworks at home. Using pyrotechnics poses a high risk of starting fires in parks and habitat areas, and are not allowed on Corps lands, to include all lakes in the Kansas City District. Recreation officials encourage visitors to attend local fireworks displays in nearby communities.  
  • Campfires and barbecues are only allowed in designated areas. Some locations have restrictions on open fires, so check the information kiosks at recreation areas for site-specific fire restrictions and safety notices. If charcoal briquettes are allowed, be sure they cool completely before disposal -- never dump hot coals onto the ground where they can ignite nearby vegetation. Be mindful of fire risks before lighting wood, charcoal or gas fire.  
  • Wear your life jacket. The majority of water tragedies may have been prevented by simply wearing a life jacket. Please do your friends and loved ones a favor – and wear it. 

Please take the time to consider all of these safety tips while recreating over the busy Independence Day weekend. For more information on these and other safety information please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and visit Pleasewearit.com.

For more information, contact the Public Affairs Office at 816-389-3486.


Contact
Public Affairs Office
816-389-3486
CENWK-PA@usace.army.mil

Release no. 19-041