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Vicksburg District urges recreation site visitors to ‘play it safe’ during Fourth of July weekend

Published July 2, 2019
VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District reminds recreation site visitors across Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas to practice safety during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Recreation sites across the region will host special events during the holiday weekend. In Arkansas, Lake Ouachita will hold fireworks shows July 4 and 6, DeGray Lake July 4 and Lake Greeson July 6. In Mississippi, Sardis Lake will hold a fireworks show July 4.
Because of high water from the ongoing flood event across the region, several attractions remain closed at various recreation sites. With the exception of the beach at Sardis’s lower lake, all beaches at the district’s north Mississippi lakes – Arkabutla, Enid, Sardis and Grenada – are closed. Select campsites are closed at Lake Ouachita and Lake Greeson in Arkansas and the Ouachita-Black River in Louisiana. For up-to-date information on specific closures, contact recreation site offices; office contact information is available at https://www.mvk.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/.
The following are general safety measures that visitors should use while enjoying district recreation sites this holiday weekend and beyond.
Wear a life jacket.
Life jackets should be worn at all times for activities on and around the water. Life jackets should be U.S. Coast Guard-approved and the appropriate shape, size and type for the wearer and the activity. According to the USACE National Operations Center for Water Safety, nearly 90% of all water-related fatalities at public facilities involved people who were not wearing life jackets. Visitors should become familiar with individual lake requirements regarding life jacket wear before visiting the area.
Swim safely.
Swimming should take place only in designated, open areas, and swimmers should use the buddy system. Children should be under adult supervision during any activities on or near the water.
Avoid exhaust fumes.
Boat exhaust fumes can contain carbon monoxide, an odorless and colorless gas that can cause sudden illness or death. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include eye irritation, headache, nausea, weakness and dizziness. Areas where fumes can accumulate should have a circulation of fresh air. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on boats and regularly maintained.

Monitor the weather.

During the summer, weather conditions can change rapidly, and anyone who participates in outdoor activities should remain weather-aware. All outdoor activities should stop when a thunderstorm approaches. Sturdy, enclosed buildings offer the best shelter from lightning, hail, wind and rain. Open spaces, bodies of water, high ground, and isolated or metallic objects should be avoided during a storm.


Prevent heat-related illness.

When the weather is hot and humid, the body may develop a heat-related illness from sweating too much or becoming dehydrated while trying to cool itself. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, excessive sweating, clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, weak pulse and muscle cramps. Symptoms of heat stroke include headache, confusion, high body temperature, dry skin, nausea or vomiting, strong pulse and loss of consciousness. Anyone who participates in outdoor activities should drink plenty of fluids, wear lightweight and loose clothing, use sunscreen and take breaks in the shade or air conditioning.

As the nation’s largest federal provider of water-based recreation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) strives to promote safety in the great outdoors. For more information on USACE’s commitment to water safety, visit https://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Recreation/Water-Safety/. 

Jessica Dulaney

Release no. 19-020