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Intermountain Health stocks Utah reservoirs with life jackets

Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital is donating 900 life jackets to reservoirs across the state in an effort to save lives this summer.

Under Utah law, anyone on a motorized boat who is 12-years-old or younger must wear a life jacket at all times. There must also be at least one life jacket per person on the boat for anyone over the age of 12.

This rule also goes for paddle boarders and kayakers.

Dr. Wing Province is an emergency physician with Intermountain Park City Hospital and the hospital’s chief medical officer. He explains why having a life jacket is so important.

“Drowning is actually the second leading cause of preventable injury death for Utah children under the age of 14…and unfortunately 70% of drowning deaths happen between May and August in the state of Utah.” 

To try to prevent those deaths, Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital has donated 900 lifejackets to help reservoirs stock loaner stations across the state.

Province explains the stations allow families to borrow life jackets, for free, when they are out on the water.

“Loaner stations look like little wooden kiosks. Next to the water where you can open a door and they're stocked with life jackets for individuals and families to grab to go into the water and enjoy and then at the end of the day, you return your life jackets back to the little kiosk for another individual or family to use tomorrow.”

At Jordanelle State Park, the station is located next to the marina near the parking lot, and there are stations at all major Utah reservoirs and bodies of water.

To have a safe summer, Province also recommends appointing someone to watch the children in the water.

“We recommend appointing a, quote Water Watcher to supervise children without a distraction. That means someone who is not on the phone, being distracted and they actually have an allotted shift or time that they are watching the little ones so that everyone else can have fun and know that the little ones are safe.”

He says it's not just the younger kids that need to be monitored. .

“Teens are at a really high risk of drowning too. They often get themselves into situations that aren't safe or they're not aware of their surroundings and oftentimes get into trouble and drown.”

Province says the best way to ensure a fun summer is to make safety a priority and to always wear a life jacket.