Life jacket loaner stations open Friday at local lakes

he South County Fire crew from Mountlake Terrace Fire Station 19 stocked the life jacket loaner station at Lake Ballinger Park. Life jackets at the self-serve station are available for children and adults to use for free during their park visit.

Life jacket loaner stations open on Friday, May 26 at Martha Lake County Park near Lynnwood and Lake Ballinger Park in Mountlake Terrace.

These self-serve stations are stocked with life jackets for children and adults to use for free during their park visits. The aim is to increase life jacket use, raise awareness about water safety and prevent drownings, explained Shawneri Guzman, South County Fire outreach manager and Safe Kids Snohomish County coordinator.

Safe Kids Snohomish County also sponsors life jacket stations at Silver Lake, Lake Stevens, Lake Goodwin Community Park, Gissberg Twin Lake County Park, Flowing Lake County Park, and Wenberg County Park.

The life jacket stations will be open through Labor Day. Use is based on the honor system; availability is not guaranteed. The best option is to bring your own properly fitted jacket, Guzman said.

With or without life jackets, children require distraction-free adult supervision around water, she said. “We don’t want life jackets to provide a false sense of security. Parents still need to keep a close watch on their kids.”

Drowning can happen in a matter of seconds and typically occurs when a child is left unsupervised. Despite what you see in the movies, in real life drowning is silent and can happen quickly.

Drowning Prevention Tips

  • Always provide close and constant adult supervision.
  • Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Stay within reach of young children and inexperienced swimmers.
  • Watch all children and teens swimming or playing in or near water, even if they know how to swim.
  • Designate a water watcher when you are in or around water. A water watcher is a responsible adult who agrees to watch the children in and around the water without distractions.
  • Use extra caution this time of year as water temperatures are cold even when air temperatures are warm.
  • In an emergency, call 911 immediately.

Safe Kids Snohomish County, led by South County Fire, is a local coalition of Safe Kids Worldwide dedicated to eliminating preventable injuries in children ages 0-19 through education and distribution of safety devices. Learn more at

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