There is just too much that can go wrong right now if youíre near the water and not paying attention, area rescue authorities are reminding parents. They are hoping to especially reach those with young children.
Recent heavy rains have swollen rivers and creeks. Waterways right now are running high and fast. And the drowning death of a young boy recently near Garretson in Split Rock Creek is a tragic reminder of how everything can change in an instant.
ďThe water is moving so fast right now. I donít care how good of a swimmer you are, if that water gets up and moving at all, itíll take you. And if you get near the dam, itís not good,Ē said Justin Krull, the Fire Chief in Flandreau. ďBe smart with the kids, pay attention, if something does happen, the sooner we can get there the better odds we have,Ē he added.
Krull is also part of the team that serves as rescue personnel if there is ever a call to area waterways.
He says one of the biggest areas for concern is the dam in town. It is a gathering place and a great fishing spot. But itís also a dangerous draw for kids who want to cool off or who may be trying to goof off, and anyone simply not understanding the power of the water. The undertow there for even the most experienced swimmer, is more than likely, a death trap.
ďThe big thing is, during the day, thatís when the kids want to wander down there. If you drive by, keep an eye on the kids. Growing up, thatís all we did was we went down there fishing. We have officers go there all the time. A couple weeks ago, a mom and 3-month-old were sitting on the side rail, one of the officers had to ask her to get down,Ē said Krull.
The Flandreau Fire Department recently purchased a used aluminum boat from state surplus. Krull says all it is right now is basically the aluminum shell. The department plans to host several fundraisers throughout the year to outfit the boat so that it can be used in rescue situations.