June 28, 2023
SHERIFF’S OFFICE CAUTIONS PUBLIC ABOUT WATER RISKS
GRAND COUNTY, CO – The Grand County Sheriff’s Office reminds the public that high-water flow in Colorado rivers, streams and lakes can often create dangerous conditions with swift-moving water or unexpected currents. In Grand County, our high mountain lakes and swift moving rivers contain cold water from snow melt. Entering water under these types of conditions can lead to hypothermia which will impair your body’s abilities. Swift moving water in rivers have an extra element of risk due to the volume and depth of water. The force of swift moving water may sweep you away in the water flow and limit your ability to swim or remove yourself safely from the water. If you plan to spend time recreating in water, make sure to educate yourself about water safety and know before you go, always a wear a personal flotation device and follow the American Red Cross’s Reach or Throw, Don’t Go guidance.
Know Before You Go
Planning ahead to know before you go is a vital step for maintaining personal safety. Pay attention to the weather forecast. The US National Weather Service Office in Denver/Boulder, Colorado provides regular weather updates on social media as well as at www.weather.gov/bou. Stay updated on water conditions and river flows at https://dwr.state.co.us/Tools/Stations.
Wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
If you are planning on enjoying water recreation, always protect yourself by wearing an appropriate personal flotation device (PFD) also commonly referred to as a life vest. Loaner life vests (PFDs) are available at five locations around Grand County lakes courtesy of the Christopher Mullinex Water Rescue Fund. Find loaner life vests at Grand Lake Town Beach, Hilltop Boat Ramp in Grand Lake, Stillwater Boat Ramp on Lake Granby, Sunset Point Boat Ramp on Lake Granby and at the pond at Sun Outdoors Rocky Mountains in Granby.
The Christopher Mullinex Water Rescue Fund was created by Dee Mullinex after she tragically lost her adult son, Christopher Eugene, when he drowned after jumping into Lake Granby at a depth of what would have appeared to be safe at 40 – 50 feet during a seemingly normal fun summer afternoon. Chris’s body was not discovered and recovered until after three days of searching and waiting for available out-of-county resources.
The devastation of losing her son to drowning compounded with the anguish of waiting for his body to be recovered and brought home to be buried, ignited a deep passion in Dee Mullinex to ensure that no family ever experiences that again in Grand County. The primary mission is to provide funds for equipment, training and public education regarding water safety so that every person that enjoys Grand County’s lakes comes home safely.
Reach or Throw, Don’t Go
The American Red Cross recommends these three steps should someone need help in water. The Red Cross first recommends to try and reach with something like a pole, broom or branch as examples to the person. Next, throw something that will either float or allow them the ability to hold onto and be pulled to safety. Lastly, fight the urge to enter the water yourself unless properly trained with rescue equipment. Call 911 and report the incident and location to first responders. Stay calm and try to keep the person in sight.
Lakes and rivers in Colorado provide beautiful and amazing recreational opportunities. Sheriff Brett Schroetlin encourages everyone to consider the inherent risks that come with water and take personal safety steps to have a safe summer.