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See the life jackets at several Jackson County lakes? They are there for a reason

Vandercook Lake
Posted at 2:05 PM, Jun 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 09:42:36-04

JACKSON, Mich. — As we head into summer, Jackson County lakes are getting busier, but before you dive in, did you forget something?

The Jackson County Office of the Sheriff started the life jacket safety program on May 28. Right now, life jackets have been placed at Vandercook Lake, Clark Lake and Grass Lake. Anybody can use them – there are eight at each station – just as long as they are returned.

“Predominantly, that’s where we have a lot of visitors go to those three locations, and we just thought that this being a pilot program, it would probably be the right place to start,” Jackson County Sheriff Patrol Captain Kevin Hiller said.

The program was born from the observations of Sheriff’s Deputy Jay Truchan, who recognized a need after recent drowning incidents. After receiving approval from Sheriff Gary Schuette, Truchan contacted the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department and local businesses to bring this free program to life.

“I wanted families to come and actually be able to utilize these flotation devices for safety purposes,” Truchan said. “This idea was all about safety. We are the water-winter wonderland state so it was something that we should definitely institute here in Jackson County and to remind everyone, parents, when they look at the sign, it’s all about safety of our children and our families within the state of Michigan and Jackson County.”

Jackson County has more than 125 inland lakes with 13 county parks that are on waterways.

The department plans to add at least three life jacket loan stations a year until all the parks have one.

According to the Jackson County Health Department, there has been at least one drowning per year since 2015 and 18 drownings since 2010.

“Sadly, every year our community experiences drownings at our lakes,” Sheriff Schuette said. “Often the victims are children, who don’t know how to swim but went into the water to cool off on a hot summer day.”

The life jackets are identified with labels in case they are lost and can be returned to the sheriff’s office if found.

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