Recent drownings highlight dangers of drinking while swimming

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Labor Day is fast approaching, and with temperatures in Kansas expected to reach 90 degrees, many people will likely spend the holiday cooling off at the pool or lake.

But that combination of the heat, the holiday and the H2O can be a recipe for disaster.

"This weekend is one of our last big bangs," said Tyler Brewer. "We usually have a lot of people on standby because there will be instances where people just don't use good judgment when they're around the water."

Brewer is the chief of the Augusta Department of Safety. His crews responded to the call Sunday of a swimmer who went under in Santa Fe Lake.

"One of his friends had said he had consumed some alcohol and then decided to go for a swim," Brewer said.

Although alcohol has not yet been listed as as a contributing factor in the drowning, it was involved in the near-drowning of a woman in a Wichita pool last week. Brewer says these incidents are an important reminder to anyone out on the water over the Labor Day weekend, drink responsibly while celebrating the end of summer.

"There's two things that come into play there. Dehydration always gets people sick. And then if you're dehydrated and you drink on top of it, that makes it worse," he said. "To compound that, there may be thunderstorms coming in, and people may be out on their boat or they'll be skiing or they'll be standing out in the middle of the lake with a thunderstorm coming in and now we have a whole new set of problems, especially if they've been drinking."

Boaters and swimmers should check the radar before heading out on the water, and immediately go back to shore if there is a thunderstorm warning.

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