First responders expect huge crowds on lakes and rivers over holiday weekend

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INDIANAPOLIS-IN– With Memorial Day weekend around the corner, many Hoosiers are already making plans to soak up the sun and hit the water.

Before doing so, officials want to remind people to be safe because water can be dangerous, especially after all the rain the state has seen.

First responders are already prepared for a lot of people to flock to the pools, rivers, and lakes. 

“It’s the first opportunity for the official kick-off of boating season and with the last 2 months of being in the house we fully expect people to get out and take advantage of it,” DNR’s Captain Jet Quillen explained. 

Earlier in the week, the Indianapolis Fire Department rescued someone who got stuck on a sandbar at Little Eagle Creek. Thankfully they’re okay, but IFD’s Special Operations Division Captain Jerry Richert knows these situations can turn bad, so does DNR.

 “We want everybody to take the time beforehand and plan. Once you get out on the water you won’t have to give it a second thought, because you will have everything ready to go,” Captain Quillen said.

Captain Quillen wants everyone to have a life jacket on and have a designated driver if they plan to consume alcohol.

“We will have our officers out, being seen, and watching for anything that needs to be addressed. They are going to do it safely and we want the public to do it safely too,” Captain Quillen said.

Captain Quillen expects to receive a lot of other calls about folks not properly social distancing too.

“Maybe look for that area that’s not as crowded. Maybe look for that area of the lake where there aren’t a lot of boats in, so you can have that buffer zone between you and the next boat over,” Captain Quillen said.

Captain Richert reminds people that if they see someone struggling in the water to call 911. They can also throw them a stick or something that will float that they can hold on to. They may be able to pull them in from the water.

He said if that doesn’t work the best thing to do is stand in the location that they were when they saw that person go in so, rescue crews will know their last known location.

He adds if someone is not a strong swimmer they should stay away from bodies of water with strong currents.

DNR encourages people to bring their masks and hand sanitizer with them out on their boats to help avoid catching COVID-19.

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