Be safe while trying to cool off this summer

Springfield man drowned in the Westfield River over the weekend

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The temperatures reached 90 degrees in Chicopee; the hottest day so far this year. If you want to cool off, state pools are open all over western Mass. but stay away from risky swimming spots.

Over the weekend, a Springfield resident in his late 20′s drowned while swimming in the Westfield River, and in the past 2 years or so, 22News reported on several drowning incidents along the Connecticut River and the Chicopee River as well.

The risk of accidental drowning skyrockets during summer months, as more people look for ways to cool off. That’s why Siomara Morales of Springfield brings her children to state pools or public spray parks.

Morales told 22News “I mean it’s safer out here for them. They have lifeguards. It’s better than taking them out to a lake. You know, here’s safer. It’s better for them. It’s closer.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the fifth leading cause of accidental deaths.

Westfield Deputy Fire Chief Andrew Hart told 22News people should always swim in designated swim areas where trained lifeguards are on standby and stay away from illegal swim spots.

“We just advise stay out of areas without lifeguards. It’s just not safe. There are too many hazards that you can’t see, you’re not aware of, that can get you in trouble,” said Deputy Chief Hart.

He added “Too many things out there that you’re just not aware of, whehter it be a current or something in the water that can get you. Even strong swimmers have problems. They are tired. There’s no one there to help them. Things can go bad really quick.”

Also, always use a buddy system and never over-estimate your swimming abilities.

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