HIGH RIDGE, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- As many pools remain closed due to COVID-19, firefighters issued a warning about water safety as many families may look for alternatives to be near the water over the holiday weekend.
"It's only dangerous if you don't know what you're doing," said Zachary Warren, who regularly swims at Rockford Beach in Jefferson County.
Even if you do know what you're doing, firefighters warn it can still be dangerous.
So far this year, the High Ridge Fire District has made three water rescues at Rockford Beach. The most recent was this past Saturday.
Fire officials said that is a lot for it only being the beginning of summer. The district only made one rescue in all of 2018 and just three in 2019.
"If you're not used to it, if you're not prepared for it, it can really have traumatic outcomes," said Matt Coppin with Metro West Fire.
Coppin stressed that is why it is important to wear a life jacket. He is most worried about people who are not used to swimming in rivers.
"Even in knee-high water you can lose your footing, you take another step and fall off the edge and you're swept away," said Coppin.
The Metro West dive team was deployed nine times in 2019. Coppin said none of the victims were wearing life vests.
Coppin said it's important for even strong swimmers to remember that water, especially rivers, can be deceiving.
"It's a completely different situation when you're dealing with currents and even when you're dealing with uneven river bottoms underneath," said Coppin.