GRAPEVINE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The Grapevine Fire Department is asking for the public’s help after half of their loaner life jackets have gone missing because of people not returning them.
The program for the life jackets is driven by community donations, and they are meant to be at Grapevine Lake through Labor Day weekend.
However, the Grapevine fire chief is worried the program might not survive if there aren’t enough funds to cover the missing life jackets.
Last summer, the fire department launched the “Loan a Life Jacket” program to encourage people who forget or can’t afford a life jacket to borrow them from the five city parks at the lake.
It’s an effort to prevent drownings at the lake. There have been six so far in 2018.
“We have life vests at five of our city parks in memory of James McKenzie. He was a firefighter/paramedic who drowned while he and his family were having an outing back in July 2016,” said Grapevine Fire Chief Darrell Brown.
Brown says there are about 26 life jackets at each stand — around 130 in total. Brown is not sure if people are taking them home or discarding them, but he’s asking for help in returning them.
“Our slogan is ‘Borrow, Survive and Return.’ This year we’re not having too many returns. People are borrowing them, and they’re surviving. But they’re not returning them to our stands,” said Brown.
Brown says last week they received 60 new life jackets to replace the missing ones, but just about all of the replacement jackets are gone now.
“I appeal to people who are using them, please return them. We don’t have to worry about the donation account getting low if people would just return them,” said Brown.