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Swimming in summer (or winter)

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

PORT JERVIS, NY – Those who were part of Port Jervis Fire Department’s 4th Annual “Freezin’ for a Reason” Polar Plunge in January, are definitely not freezing in 31-degree air any longer and the water temperature is no longer 35 degrees.  But safely used, Port's Delaware River areas can bring fun in all seasons.

PJFD's fourth annual Polar Plunge was co-sponsored by PJFD’s Water Operations Team and Port Jervis’ Recreation Department.  Those who hosted and enjoyed bringing the Polar Plunge to West End Beach in January of each year are among the many who stress water safety year-round.

The public uses areas along the river daily for boating, swimming, fishing, and other recreational fun, especially in warm weather months. Unfortunately, rescue calls along the river are common, and drownings have occurred this summer.  However, when people use the river responsibly, always wearing proper life jackets and taking precautions for changing situations, injuries and loss of life can be avoided.  

Six members of the Special Operations Team were stationed in full water-rescue gear in the river for the Polar Plunge, as others assisted and kept fire pits going on the beach.  

Among those who swam in the chilly water were some emergency responders themselves; several who have participated in all four years.  These included Jamie Swingle, President of Sparrowbush Engine Company’s Ladies Auxiliary, with a 100% record of participation.  

Swingle was among emergency volunteers on hand who helped add to the success of the event, including keeping things safe and fun.

“I enjoyed it that first year and decided to keep participating," Swingle said.  "It’s for a good cause, and fun to be part of. My personal challenge every year is to go further out in the water than the previous year.”

Event organizers Tim Simmons and John Faggione both praised the generosity of sponsors, supporters, and participants in the event.   Funds raised are used in the operations of their departments.

While many continue to enjoy the river and other local waterways for summertime fun, a reminder goes out to always practice water safety precautions.  It is vitally important to wear proper PFDs, and be aware of the diverse terrain of the river and fluidly changing conditions. Have fun, but stay safe!

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SHARON SIEGELSenior Correspondent

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