Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin Public Service have declared April 7-12 dam safety awareness week.
The initiative started to urge outdoor enthusiasts to be extra careful around dams this year. WPSC warns people to stay as far away from the dams as possible especially this time of year.
"it's an operating hydro-electric facility, river flows are constantly changing, and we'd like people to stay safe and give us a little cushion around our projects,” Explains Regional Generation Supervisor Bill Bloczynski.
He says you should obey all signs and barriers around the dams, and always wear a life jacket. Especially this time of the year because falling into cold water can cause hypothermia, which could lead to death from drowning.
Some safety precautions include:
•Obey all signs and barriers, especially "Thin Ice" this time of year. They are for the public's protection.
•Any sirens and flashing lights indicate an imminent change in water level or flow.
•Bring a cell phone and contact 911 in an emergency.
•Wear a personal floatation device (PFD), a life jacket.
•Always stay outside buoy lines and away from restricted areas near dams.
•Especially in spring, falling into cold water can cause hypothermia that could result in death from drowning.
•Always have a safe escape route planned when near a dam. Be prepared to evacuate at the first sign of danger.
And it may seems obvious, but he urges everyone to carry their phone in case there would be an emergency.
Bloczynski said there were zero fatalities in Merrill last year and he hopes for the same results this season.
WPS operates 17 hydroelectric facilities on the Wisconsin, Peshtigo, Tomahawk, and Menominee Rivers.
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