Timothy J. Bradshaw, Fire Chief
50 School St.
Taunton, MA 02780
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Taunton Fire Department Offers Water Safety Tips
TAUNTON – As school gets out and summer vacation begins, Chief Timothy Bradshaw and the Taunton Fire Department would like to remind residents about several important water safety tips.
“As temperatures begin to rise, more residents will be looking to cool off by the water,” Chief Bradshaw said. “We want everyone to have fun, but more importantly, be safe. Children especially should be supervised at all times.”
Lake Sabbatia, the largest lake in Taunton, is located on the southern edge of the Hockomock Swamp and is bordered in part by Watson State Park. Due to the several coves and island, Lake Sabbatia is a popular place for swimmers and boaters alike.
Additionally, Taunton is home to Lake Rico at Massasoit State Park in the eastern part of the city along Middleboro Avenue. Lake Rico is a 166-acre freshwater lake that takes up about nearly a quarter of Massasoit State Park. There are many coves, minor islands, and a few major islands located within the lake. Swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing are allowed. Other lakes in the park include Big Bear Hole Pond, Middle Pond, and Little Bear Hole Pond.
The American Canoe Association offers the following safety tips to kayakers, paddlers, and recreational boaters:
- Always wear a life jacket.
- Children under the age of 12 must wear a life jacket in a public body of water at all times.
- Be a competent swimmer with the ability to handle oneself underwater, moving water, surf or current.
- Keep the craft under control. Do not enter a rapid unless you are reasonably sure you can navigate it or swim the entire rapid in case you capsize.
- Keep a lookout for hazards and avoid them. Watch for fog, especially on coastal waters.
- Know your emotional and physical limitations.
- Group members need to constantly assess the behavior of others in their group.
Watson Pond State Park is a 10-acre park in Taunton run by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. It is operated seasonally and offers swimming but there is no lifeguard on duty. Watson Pond, a small freshwater lake in the park, is connected to Lake Sabbatia. Fishing and non-motorized boating are also permitted.
While at DCR-run reservations, remember:
- Follow the direction of the park staff at all times.
- Practice sun safety: always wear sunscreen, seek shaded areas and protect your skin from direct sun exposure.
- Drinking or possessing alcohol is prohibited.
- Open fires and grilling are not allowed on the premises.
For those with their own pools, Taunton Fire suggests that the community follow safety tips outlined by the American Red Cross:
- Per Massachusetts law, have at least a 4-foot-high barrier that encloses the pool and an access gate that self-closes, locks, and opens outward from the swimming area (even if you do not have children).
- Fasten a safety cover over the pool when it is not in use, and remove ladders to further prevent access into the pool. For added safety, install a pool alarm that will sound if anyone enters the water.
- Never leave children unattended while they are near or in a pool, and make sure they have an adult to accompany them into the water. Young or inexperienced swimmers should always wear a life jacket or inflatable arm floats.
- Make sure children stay away from pool drains, pipes, or any other openings to avoid getting trapped or hurt. If a child is missing, always check the pool first.
- Set safety instructions and share them with family, friends, neighbors, or anyone else who is near or uses the pool. Advise children to stay away from pool deep ends, and to always walk, never run, near the pool.
- Take a CPR course for adults and children to be prepared if an emergency situation occurs. Update skills regularly.