Water Safety

With summer heating up, Naperville residents have plenty of options to cool down. But when the heat hits, safety isn’t always first on their minds.

Naperville resident Nicki Scott installed a pool in her backyard when her children were young. And while she wants everyone to have fun while in her pool, she says she tries to find a balance between having fun and staying safe. Scott sets down ground rules whenever anyone decides to go into the pool. Whether it’s the neighbors or her kids and their friends, everyone has to follow the rules or they don’t get to swim.

“Nobody’s allowed to swim on their own. Even as adults we try to honor that one because you never know. And now as they get older as teenagers, again, I always make sure I’m around. They can never swim without me knowing. When they get excited and they have a group of friends around we tend to sort of, no matter how embarrassing it might be, we tend to start them off by saying here’s some basic rules and minimize the amount of running, and certainly no diving,” says Scott.

The Naperville Fire Department also has several recommendations to stay safe in the pool. Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis emphasizes always having someone with you at all times.

“You could be the best of swimmers, but something could happen to you. You could have a heart attack. You could have a stroke situation. If nobody’s around, you can drown. It doesn’t take a lot to drown,” says Puknaitis.

Along with never swimming alone, you should have life preserving equipment around and always have a plan. If something does happen, everyone needs to know where the phone is and what to do.

“It’s a big responsibility having a pool in your backyard. It’s as simple as that,” says Scott.

Having a personal pool isn’t the only way for Naperville residents to enjoy water in the summer. Whether you own a craft or decide to rent one, residents can take a trip down the DuPage River.

Recently, the Fire Department’s Swift Water Rescue Team was called in to help a family whose canoe tipped over going beneath a bridge near Pioneer Park. The team got the family safely to shore and secured the canoe.

“That’s a problem that we see this time of year, anytime it rains drastically.

The river can seem to be very tame. You know, when you look at it, it can seem to be a very docile, beautiful environment. It can change quickly. It can change unexpectedly,” says Puknaitis.

The Fire Department also warns that the river has a lot of vegetation that people can get caught up in. And after a heavy rain that causes the water level to rise, that vegetation is both below and above anyone on the river.

“Whether it’s branches, rocks or boulders, things like that. And the river, because of the flow and everything, it’s really hard to visualize what’s going on,” says Puknaitis. “If you fall over in your boat, or your water craft, you can certainly get caught up in something, whether it be debris, plant life, rocks, you name it. There’s things that you just can’t see.”

Puknaitis adds that before you go out onto the water, you should check with local authorities to make sure it’s authorized for water crafts like canoes and kayaks.

Finally, anyone who does go on the river should wear the necessary safety equipment. Puknaitis says that it doesn’t matter how good you are at swimming, you could always run into a problem.

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