Safety initiative is top priority for Lake Texoma - - Texoma news, weather and sports

Safety initiative is top priority for Lake Texoma

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A new safety initiative is planned for Lake Texoma visitors. (KTEN) A new safety initiative is planned for Lake Texoma visitors. (KTEN)

BRYAN COUNTY, Okla. -- It only takes seconds for a day of fun to turn tragic.

Three people have already drowned at Lake Texoma this summer. That's why visitor Tiffani Walker is taking no chances.

"Always have a life jacket on," she said. "That's one of the most import things, especially lately with all the drownings."

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers natural resource specialist Jeremy Harvey agrees.

"Lake Eufaula, Texoma... there have been multiple fatalities, and it all could have been prevented by wearing a life jacket," he said.

The recent incidents are spurring efforts to make Texoma's largest body of water safer for visitors.

Brandi Burkhalter with the Lake Texoma Association said her organization wants to expand the Corps of Engineers' existing safety programs, getting federal and tribal agencies involved. The hope is to provide more boating and water safety classes and more accessible life jackets.

"We also hope to start a life jacket share program, and want to partner with local businesses, marinas, and different ones around the lake," Burkhalter said.

"It will help our job exponentially," Harvey said. "Now you have just more than the Corps putting the water safety message on the lake... now it's lake-wide; you have other federal agencies, state agencies involved in that."

And when it comes to precious lives, no one is taking any chances.

"At the end of the day, if you get to go home to your family, I think it's much deserve," Harvey said.

There are more Lake Texoma safety meetings set for this winter, and the goal is to launch this initiative next spring.

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