Thanks to a generous $3,000 donation from St. Luke’s Health System, Boise Parks and Recreation, the Boise Fire Department and Idaho River Sports are teaming up once again to get life jackets into the hands of children and families who may not otherwise have access to one. This successful community partnership connects Idaho families to important water safety resources when they visit the City of Boise’s swimming ponds in and around Esther Simplot Park.
“Providing access to free life jackets for anyone swimming at Quinn’s Pond or Esther Simplot Park is an important part of our mission to encourage safe recreation each summer,” said Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway. “We’re grateful for the support of St. Luke’s and all of the community partners who continue to make this a priority for our residents and visitors.”
St. Luke’s awarded its first grant for the purchase of life jackets to the City of Boise in 2018. Since then, the partnership has allowed hundreds of park visitors to recreate safely in and on the water each year. All life vests, life jackets or personal floatation devices used in bodies of water should be U.S. Coast Guard approved. The free life jackets provided through this City of Boise program are all properly certified.
Visitors to the ponds are encouraged to stop by Idaho River Sports before hitting the water to get family members in need of a free life jacket properly fitted for one to use while swimming. Life jacket loaner stations are also stocked at the Quinn’s Pond beach and children’s beach area at Esther Simplot Park. A variety of life jacket sizes are available from youth to adults. We ask that whenever possible, users borrow and then return the jackets to the loaner stations at the park or to Idaho River Sports so others can take advantage of this important resource when they visit the city’s swimming ponds.
“The Boise Fire Department highly encourages the use of life jackets and all other personal protective equipment as it relates to water recreation, specifically in the Boise River,” said Boise Fire Special Operations Division Chief Paul Roberts. “The river and other bodies of water often appear calm and non-threatening, but things can change rapidly causing a bad outcome when not wearing a life jacket. This program is important because it works directly to prevent that from happening.”
The importance of water safety is not lost on the St. Luke’s Children’s Pediatric trauma team. Each year, they care for children involved in water related accidents. Drowning is fast and silent and can happen within 60 seconds in less than two inches of water.
“We want summer water activities to be safe for people of all ages. We are hopeful that these life jackets, together with close supervision from undistracted adults, will improve the safety of our children around any type of water. Using a layered approach to water safety is ideal – undistracted adult water watchers, properly worn life jackets, and equipping kids with swimming lessons, can all go a long way for safer swimming,” said St. Luke’s Children’s System Medical Director Dr. Kenny Bramwell.
You can watch the City of Boise’s water safety PSA video for additional safety tips when swimming at the ponds and in other local bodies of water.