ELK GROVE, Calif. — The warnings from first responders are clear: stay out of local rivers, especially if you don’t have a life jacket.
The melting snow is making those waterways run dangerously fast.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of death for kids under the age of 14. It’s the leading cause of death for those under the age of four.
This year, with the local rivers running cold, fast and high, many first responders are urging people to spend their Memorial Day weekend at community pools and avoid the rivers altogether.
Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer, which means many community pools are opening.
In Roseville, the pools are operated by the city’s Park and Recreation District.
Alisha Moyer, the recreation supervisor, says they are excited to open their outdoor pools for the season on Saturday.
“Our pools are life guarded; we have plenty of staff watching,” said Moyer.
Trained lifeguards are keeping a close eye on everyone, unlike at the dangerous cold and fast rivers across Northern California. This year there have already been several water rescues and drownings.
“The waters are very cold and very fast, so our water is open for anybody and everybody that wants to come and enjoy,” said Moyer.
In Elk Grove, Cosumnes Fire Department and the Parks and Recreation Department have been working together to encourage residents to pick pools over rivers.
Colin Smith, the district’s recreation supervisor, says they have hired around 180 staff for pool season and are ready to go.
“You know what’s in the water. You can see the bottom of the pool; you can’t’ see what’s in the bottom of a lake or a river. Also, the current in a pool, the only current you get, is another swimmer going by, so in my opinion, it’s just an overall better safer environment. Of course, there is that entrance fee, but it pays for lifeguards,” said Smith.