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Peoria Fire and Medical Put up Safety Signs Around Lake Pleasant

The Fourth of July weekend is one of the busiest for Peoria Fire and Medical on Lake Pleasant. On Saturday morning, crews were out bright and early, putting up signs to urge safety and talking with boaters as they went out onto the lake.

In an effort to keep swimmers and boaters safe, Peoria City Councilman Brad Shafer helped to purchase signs to install around the lake, telling people to wear life vests and be safe on the water.

“I think anything is better than nothing. The key is they look at them and read them. I think it’ll help a few, but I think the folks that come around all the time, they know what they’re supposed to be doing and a majority of folks are safe,” said Fire Chief Gary Bernard of Peoria Fire and Medical.

Already this year, Bernard said seven people drowned at Lake Pleasant. Just last week, a man’s body was recovered from the lake.

In all of 2022, 11 people drowned.

“It’s disappointing and saddening every time I get a notification that there’s another drowning here at Lake Pleasant,” Shafer said. “Then, you go back and look at the data and information, after the investigation is complete, a lot of the time, if they had a life jacket on, they’d still be alive today.”

Last year, the department said the main cause of the deadly incidents are a lack of boating experience and life jackets.

Bernard said the Fourth of July weekend is one of the busiest times on Lake Pleasant. The fire department staffed more people at the Lake Pleasant station, too, adding eight additional people for July 3rd. They also have an ambulance and a rescue stationed by the lake for the weekend, which is not usually there.

“We just want to think ahead and prepare for anything,” Bernard said.

People heading out to the water started early Saturday morning. Celeste Chairez rented a boat with some friends for the weekend. Her group of friends grabbed life jackets, knowing that she can’t swim well.

First responders urge people to wear life jackets. There are loaner life jackets around the area people can pick up.

This Fourth of July weekend is also the hottest of the year so far in Arizona with excessive heat warnings in place.

“It’s already burning my skin. But, we have a lot of water. A lot of Gatorade and a lot of shade on the boat, thank goodness,” Chairez said.

As people hit the lakes not only this weekend but over the summer, Bernard hopes people will be safe. He says people should wear plenty of sunscreen, drink a lot of water, wear life jackets and also know where they are on the lake.

“The biggest thing is know where you’re at all times. That way if you do get in trouble, you can pinpoint the location and the rescue folks can come and get there quickly,” Bernard said. “A lot of times we’re driving around not knowing where people are.”