On Thursday, May 26, 2022, SeaTac Mayor Jake Simpson, Deputy Mayor Senayet Negusse, Councilmember Iris Guzmán and Assistant Fire Chief Brian Carson launched a free lifejacket loaner program at Angle Lake Park just in time for summer.
“The lifejacket loaner program is an excellent example of a community inspired project. As a new mom, the safety of our children is my highest priority,” said Deputy Mayor Negusse. “I’m excited to see this project come to fruition after a long year of conversations and research. Our council and staff are committed to enhancing public safety and improving our park space so that children and families can enjoy the park while feeling safe.”
The brand-new program has been in the works for about a year. This is a collaboration between the City of SeaTac, Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority (PSRFA) and the Kent Firefighters Foundation.
“I work closely with children in our local schools, so I understand the need for protecting children around water,” says Councilmember Guzmán who also chairs the City’s Parks and Recreation Council Committee. “I am always looking for ways to enhance the safety of our parks and make them more accessible for our community.”
The lifejacket loaner station is located at the lifeguard stand at Angle Lake. This program will allow parkgoers to borrow the jackets and return them when finished. There will be four different sizes of lifejackets and instructions posted to help parkgoers select the correct sized lifejacket to offer the best protection in the water.
“Puget Sound Fire responds to many water rescues each year,” said PSRFA Assistant Chief Brian Carson. “As first responders to these incidents, we understand that the best way to avoid tragedy is actually through prevention, and so we are excited to be a part of programs like this lifejacket loaner station at Angle Lake.”
The lifeguard loaner stand will consist of up to 24 jackets of four different sizes. The lifejacket signs will contain instructions in four different languages, English, Spanish, Amharic, and Somali. The plan is for the stand to be filled from May 26 to Labor Day. Puget Sound Fire or Recreation staff will check the stand weekly and replace lifejackets as needed.
The funding for the lifejackets came from the Kent Firefighters Foundation. Every pay period, many PSRFA firefighters elect to divert a portion of their paychecks to the Foundation. The non-profit organization engages in charitable and educational efforts in Kent, Covington, SeaTac, Maple Valley and our surrounding communities.
The City of SeaTac is also partnering with the Matt Griffin YMCA on two free water safety classes. The Water Watcher class will be free of charge and held at 3:30 PM on Saturday June 18 and 25. An YMCA aquatics professional will host the class at Angle Lake to show families how to properly fit a lifejacket and how to keep an eye on your family while in the water.
In addition, the City of SeaTac is working on hiring lifeguards at the lake for the summer months.
Photos and information courtesy City of SeaTac.