Life Jacket Loan Program

With Hot Modesto summers and the upcoming Fourth-of-July holiday, comes the enticement of picnics along the Tuolumne River. Even though itís illegal to do, for many it also means a chance to take a cool dip into, what is normally a slow meandering river. After an extremely wet winter, the Tuolumne flows are frigidly swift, and expect to be, well into the early summer. Unfortunately, this is all to often a prescription for disaster.

While we donít recommend anyone swim in the river, in an effort to minimize the potential for accidental drowning along the Tuolumne River Regional Park, the Modesto Fire Department has purchased 200 life jackets for use by citizens who choose to recreate along the waterway. The life jackets will be available, free of charge, to be loaned for our citizenís use. In association with the Modesto Fire Department, members of the Modesto area CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) will be on hand at Fire Station 1 and along the Tuolumne River, on weekends through the July Fourth holiday. Fire Captain Mark Greenlee, who coordinates the Departmentís Swift Water Rescue Team, is heading up this potentially life saving endeavor. According to Captain Greenlee, ďRemember, life jackets arenít like clothes, children donít grow into them. The life jacket must fit the person in order to be effective.Ē The CERT program is made up of interested citizens who have undertaken a course of study, taught by Modesto Fire Department Instructors, to provide emergency assistance to their neighbors during disasters.

Life Jackets may be checked out from 12:00 p.m. until 5:00p.m. at Fire Station 1, located at 610 11th Street in Modesto. They will be available every weekend through the July Fourth holiday. To check out a life jacket, all that is needed is, that the borrower be 18 years of age and complete a short registration form, with name, address, phone number and drivers license information. Life jackets may be checked out for the day or the entire weekend. For additional information, citizens may call the Modesto Fire Department at 209-572-9597.