MISSOULA, Mont. - The heat wave has struck and as temperatures rise folks are heading to local lakes and rivers to cool down, so NBC Montana decided to meet safety instructors to find out how to stay safe on our rivers during the hot summer weather.
C.P.R. and First Aid instructors tell us it's important to get yourself trained because accidents can happen on the river at any time and having that knowledge could help you save a life.
Just ask Kasey Richter, he's been teaching life saving classes, through the American Heart Association, for over three years.
"The best thing you can do about dealing with any situation involved with summer as far as water, heat related illnesses and allergies goes is to be trained to know how to deal with these situations," he says.
Richter tells us it's important to recognize the signs of heat stroke which can start with simple cramping and dizziness. He tells NBC Montana someone suffering from a heat illness may appear to be drunk.
"If you see someone that's lethargic and almost seem like they're not responsive, these could be indicators of heat related illness," he says.
Missoula resident Ashley Oppel has been life guarding for eight years and she knows how dangerous the heat can be.
"If you're not drinking water you're not hydrating and if you're only drinking alcohol you're getting dehydrated even more," she says. "Heat stroke is very serious and that's why I always drink a lot of water before I go outside and while I'm outside."
"Taking fluids in and staying cool are very important," says Richter. "A lot of Montanans are prepared for the cold but they're not prepared for the heat."
One way to be prepared, get trained. Richter says C.P.R. and First Aid class will only take a few hours to complete.
"Go through a class and learn all of these skills in one day and protect your family, friends and anybody who you're around," says Richter. "The more people that know this stuff the better off we're going to be and the safer everyone's going to be."
So if you plan to head to the water this summer make sure you get the proper training so you can keep yourself and your family safe.
For information on signing up for a First Aid or C.P.R. class click here.