Saturday, May 23, 2015

Emergency Tip: Time to Brush Up on Water Safety

Always swim with a buddy & wear a PFD when boating!

It's time to think about Water Safety

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! As this weekend is the unofficial kick-off to our summer season, and National Safe Boating Week just wrapped up (May 16-22), it's time to really think about water and boat safety.

Here's some excellent points and facts to focus on - not to scare you, but to better prepare you for making Summer 2015 as fun and safe as possible for you and your family.

Water Safety

 - Highlights
  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach, use the buddy system!
  • Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well.
  • Actively supervise kids whenever around the water—even if lifeguards are present. Do not just drop your kids off at the public pool or leave them at the beach—designate a responsible adult to supervise.
  • Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
  • If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.

 - Pools
  • Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub. Safety covers and pool alarms should be added as additional layers of protection.
  • Ensure that pool barriers enclose the entire pool area, are at least 4-feet high with gates that are self-closing, self-latching and open outward, and away from the pool. The latch should be high enough to be out of a small child’s reach.
  • If you have an above-ground or inflatable pool, remove access ladders and secure the safety cover whenever the pool is not in use.
  • Remove any structures that provide access to the pool, such as outdoor furniture, climbable trees, decorative walls and playground equipment.
  • Keep toys that are not in use away from the pool and out of sight. Toys can attract young children to the pool.

 - Emergencies
  • If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • If you own a home pool or hot tub, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
  • Enroll in Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.

Boating Safety

 - Safety Stats
  • In 2014, the Coast Guard was notified of 4,064 boating accidents that resulted in 610 people killed, 2,678 injuries and approximately $39 million of damage to property.
  • 78% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. 
  • 84% percent were not wearing a life jacket, the single most important piece of safety equipment you can have on.
  • Eight out of every 10 people who drowned in 2014 were reported using boats less than 21-feet in length.

 - Staying Safe

Additional Resources

Image credit: The National Guard

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