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Life preserver rings installed at north pier in Kenosha

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KENOSHA COUNTY, Wis. The Kenosha lakefront has proven to be a dangerous place over the years with several drownings and water rescues taking place.

New safety equipment was installed Monday on the north pier jutting out into Lake Michigan, and some city leaders expect it will save a life this summer.

Three life preserver rings are now spaced out evenly, meant to be thrown to someone struggling in the water.

“We believe that doing nothing and not adding these was just not acceptable,” said Kenosha Alderman David Bogdala. “We think this is the right thing to do and we’re glad to see it.”

Bogdala says hopefully the rings can help a person stay afloat for precious seconds or minutes while rescue crews are on their way.

Despite warning signs, people regularly jump into Lake Michigan. Others fall.

Last summer, at least four people drowned off the north pier.

“The undertows, the currents, they’ll pull you right in as soon as you jump in,” said Rhena Krier, a Kenosha mother. “You can’t see it but they’re there.”

Bogdala says taking the plunge is like a rite of passage in the Kenosha community.

“I think [the life rings] are a good idea,” said King Chen, a recent high school graduate in Kenosha. “Every year people die here.”

Krier says she hopes the rings act as a red flag to kids, discouraging them from going in the lake.

Bogdala says city leaders are looking at a way to have 911 be dialed every time the life rings’ containers are opened.

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