Families offered free life jacket rentals at some parks and fire stations

According to Seattle Children's Hospital, 25 children in Washington drown each year.

That’s why Snohomish County is stressing the importance of water safety by offering families free life jacket rentals at some parks and fire stations.

“I think it's amazing,” mother Carrisa Irving said. “We actually forgot my oldest daughter's life jacket today so it was absolutely perfect.”

Her 9-year-old couldn’t wait to borrow a life jacket from the cabinet at Silver Lake in Everett.

Starting this Memorial Day weekend, life jackets are available to borrow for free at designated cabinets at lakeside parks across the county.

The service is possible thanks to a partnership with Safe Kids Snohomish County.

The cabinets will be stocked with life jackets through Labor Day.

They’re also available to borrow for free year-round at the Monroe Fire Station.

“They're going to keep you safe,” said Heather Chadwick, the Public Information Officer for Snohomish County Fire District 7.

Chadwick stresses the importance of life jackets especially as more families head to the water this summer.

“We have a ton of rivers and lakes in our area,” Chadwick said. “Right now, the water is not safe. It's very, very cold right now. It’s moving quite fast. It's also still really high from all the snowmelt.”

Chadwick also said it's critical that your life jacket fits properly.

“If it's too small for you and you weigh more than what it's rated for, it’s not going to keep you buoyant. It's not going to keep you up in the water,” Chadwick explained. “If it’s too big you're going to slip right through it.”

Even the strongest of swimmers can get into trouble.

So, knowing the county is making life jackets available gives moms like Irving peace of mind

“My oldest, she can swim but it’s still just a safety precaution. I think it's important to have it on her at all times,” Irving said,

Life jacket cabinet locations include: Wyatt Park in Lake Stevens, Lake Goodwin and Wenberg County Parks near Stanwood, Lake Tye in Monroe, Martha Lake in Lynnwood, Gissberg Twin Lakes in Marysville, Flowing Lake Park near Snohomish, Silver Lake in Everett, and fire stations in Gold Bar, Index, and Monroe.

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