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Emergency officials prep for possible flooding near parks

(Crestwood Park. Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE COUNTY – The flood watch may have been cancelled, but Salt Lake County emergency officials say they’re still taking precautions around their rivers and creeks, especially near parks.  They says people can do a lot more than just “stay away” to keep themselves safe.

County officials say they want people to enjoy the parks over the weekend, so they’re giving tips for what people should do before they head to the parks and what to do while they’re there.

First, Tina Brown with Salt Lake County Emergency Management says they recommend people do what hikers are told to do.

“It’s good to tell someone where you’re going to be and when you expect to be back just in case something happens,” she says.

Once you go to the park, Brown says people should be fully aware of their surroundings, especially understanding how strong the currents can be.  Even if people have no plans to swim, Brown says they should still be prepared for it.

“Inexperienced swimmers should always wear life jackets, even if they don’t plan on going in the water,” she says.

If a loved one or a pet falls into the river, Brown says in no way should you jump in to save them.

“If you try and go in and rescue someone, you’ll easily be swept away as well.  That’s why they recommend you throw a rope, if you can,” Brown says.

Also, she says anyone who falls into the water should remember one crucial detail.

“We always say float feet first and in a half-sitting position.  You can also, kind of, direct yourself if you tilt your head where you want to go,” she adds.

Thousands of sandbags have been scattered near parks all over the county, like Crestwood Park in Cottonwood Heights, just in case they need to be deployed.