CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – After 3 people drowned in 2 separate incidents last week, fire and rescue departments in the area are emphasizing the importance of water safety.

Chippewa Falls Fire Department paramedic Nick Sprague says the main tips for staying safe in the water are to wear a life jacket, stay sober, and have a buddy system in place. Another thing to keep in mind while in a body of water is to never fight a current. When caught in a current it is best to float with it. But the most important thing you should do to avoid drowning is not as obvious as it seems.

Sprague says “I strongly urge parents to have their kids get involved with some sort of swim lessons at a local YMCA or any other gym that may have a pool available as well as adults that may have an interest in it. Don’t just go jumping into strange body waters, take some lessons, don’t be shy and build those strengths up before you go into those strange waters.”

Chief Deputy Bob Haller with the Eau Claire Fire Department adds that even though water levels are low at this moment, that doesn’t mean it’s safer and to keep an eye out for items that you can get caught on like branches or logs.