Tri-Cities parents can borrow life jackets for their children this summer

Tri-Cities, Yakima
SOPHIA GERMER

BENTON COUNTY, Wash. — Do you plan on swimming with your child or a family member this summer? Safety always has to come first, which is why Benton County Fire District No. 4 is reminding the community that life jackets are available to use at locations throughout the Tri-Cities.

All loans are free of cost at 11 separate locations throughout Benton County. Tri-Cities community members can call ahead to 509-967-2945 and ask to speak with an on-duty officer to borrow a life jacket. Keep in mind that the life jackets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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There are life jacket stations throughout the Tri-Cities region. Some are operated by Benton County Fire District No. 4 itself while others are operated by the Richland Parks Department or West Benton Fire and Rescue. Year-round life jacket rentals are available at the Richland Community Center, Benton County Fire District No. 4 in West Richland and at the boat ramp at Two Rivers Park.

Using a loaned life jacket and then putting it back when you’re done is a good alternative to the life jacket fitting program, which filled capacity shortly after opening. Tri-Cities community members quickly responded to the free life jacket fitting program held in a partnership between Kohl’s Cares and the Seattle Children’s Hospital. The fitting, which is being held on June 4 and 5, is currently at maximum capacity for those two days.

According to an infographic posted by Fire District No. 4, there are four steps to properly fitting a life jacket:

  1. Check the life jacket label to ensure that the jacket fits the appropriate weight and/or chest size requirements
  2. Put the life jacket on
  3. Buckle all of the straps on the life jacket and tightly fasten all zippers
  4. Have the wearer lift their hands in the air and gently lift them from the top of the life jacket’s arm openings

By following these safety tips, you and your child can enjoy a fun and safe summer in the water!

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