Gov. Walker declares it Dam Safety Awareness Week - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Gov. Walker declares it Dam Safety Awareness Week

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Eau Claire (WQOW) -- Governor Scott Walker has named this week Dam Safety Awareness week in Wisconsin, and Xcel Energy is joining the effort to keep its customers safe.

Xcel officials want to remind you, even though our waterways are great places to be, they can be hazardous, especially around hydroelectric dams due to rapid changing water conditions. Xcel suggests you be aware of your surrounding, and heed any warnings.

"You know, boaters, wear your life jackets. Be aware of rising water. Make sure people know where you're going to be fishing, if you're going to be in a boat," said Xcel spokeswoman, Chris Ouellette. "Make sure they know where you're going to be during that time frame."

Xcel also has warning sirens at all their dams, which signal to get away and seek higher ground.

Xcel offers these tips for personal safety near dams:

  • Obey all warning signs, barriers and flashing lights, horns and sirens.
  • Wear a personal flotation device – a life jacket.
  • Always stay outside buoy lines and away from restricted areas near dams.
  • Never swim or wade near a dam.
  • Never boat or fish alone when near a dam.
  • Leave your boat motor running to provide maneuvering power.
  • Stay clear of spillways. Changing currents and “boiling” waves can make boat control difficult near dams.
  • Reverse currents occur below dams. They can pull a boat back toward the dam into the spillway and capsize it.
  • Never anchor boats below a dam because water levels can change rapidly.
  • Set an example for children, who may not be aware of the dangers, even if they can read. State explicitly where they can and cannot go and make sure you are close to them and can see them at all times.
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