Knowing how to help yourself stay safe is an important step when heading out to a lake, pool, or other body of water; but knowing how to help others is equally as important. “Reach, Row, Throw, Don’t Go!” is a mnemonic tool to remember when dealing with a potential drowning situation. While each word has a specific meaning, the basic message is to encourage a rescuer to find any means of helping a person besides going in after the victim him or herself.
People who feel that they are drowning have an increase in adrenalin which enables them to become extremely powerful. Their fear turns into panic which can take the well-intentioned rescuer into the water with them. Rescuers should instead stay on the bank or in the boat and reach a stick, a paddle, or anything else that could be grabbed onto by the drowning victim. Tossing a life ring or throw bag to someone in the water is also a life-saving option.
|Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well
||Never leave a young child unattended near water
||Read and obey all rules and posted signs
||Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts
||Know how to prevent, recognize, and respond to emergencies
|Always swim with a buddy; never swim alone
||Maintain constant supervision of children
||Swim only in areas designated for swimming
||Do not mix alcohol with swimming, diving or boating
||Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
|Set water safety rules for the whole family
||Wear a life jacket if you can’t swim or if you are just learning to swim
||Never dive or jump into waters
||Always wear a life jacket while riding on a boat
||Know your state’s laws governing boating and fishing
Hypothermia-The Killer of the Unprepared
Boating in cold weather can be exhilarating, but it also puts you at risk of falling into dangerously cold waters. Even boating in warm weather can be dangerous if the water is much colder than the air. As a general rule, if your air and water temperatures added together equal less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, you should take the following steps:
Dress appropriately for the weather and other conditions. This includes layering your clothing and wearing a hat and neck cover to prevent unnecessary heat loss. Drink plenty of fluids and hot drinks (but not alcohol), and stay nourished with high energy food bars. Bring a change of clothes in a waterproof bag if you are going to be in or around water.
Wear a life jacket while you are on the water. Studies have shown that a combination of using the Heat Exchange Lessening Posture (H.E.L.P.) and a life jacket can increase a person’s survival rate considerably. Life jackets allow persons to keep still and adopt H.E.L.P. without being compelled to tread water or swim to stay afloat, which can reduce the survival time by 50%.
Hypothermia is called the killer of the unprepared. That is why it’s important you take the proper steps to reduce your risk the next time you plan on being in or around water.