The tragic death of Tyler Patton Saturday once again highlighted the need to own and use life jackets when around the waters of Possum Kingdom Lake — or any lake for that matter.
If he had worn a life jacket, he would still be alive. Reports are that he was warned not to get into the lake, but apparently that warning was not heeded.
Accidents happen, thus the name. In everything we do, safety must be a prime consideration. It doesn’t matter if it’s mowing the lawn, driving to the store or taking a hike along the trails at PK — safety must always be a consideration. And that comes first, not after it’s too late.
There have been a number of drownings at the lake over the last couple of years — all preventable.
What’s the answer? Think ahead, consider the potential dangers and take steps to mitigate those hazards and potential accidents.
If on the water, wear a life jacket. If children are wading along the shoreline, put them in a life jacket. Children are unaware of the danger and it’s up to parents to teach and look out for their welfare until they are old enough to take responsibility for their own safety and show that they will.
Does that mean the parent is at fault? No, it means we take steps to reduce the chances of something bad happening. Accidents can happen anyway, despite taking every precaution. It only takes a moment and life is changed forever.
If hiking the trails, take water, let someone know the route and expected return time and watch for hazards.

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Be able to call for help. If there’s no way to call, then the person who knows the route and the time of return can get help.
The same with boating — let someone know, be aware of surroundings, the weather and potential hazards in the water.
It ain’t rocket science, it’s common sense. Put away the smart phone, get off the tablet and use the tool God has given — the brain.