During the summer, it’s fun to go fishing, water skiing, and play in the water; however, not knowing how to respond in an emergency situation is not. This week's ELS Safety Topics are focused on water activities, boating prep, floatation devices, and emergency response.
Monday - Water Safety
Now that summer is here we focus a lot of our activities on the water. Sadly, with these activities there are always avoidable and tragic fatalities caused by drowning.
Did you know?
- Young children ages 1-4 and men ages 15-44 are the highest risk of drowning.
- Drowning is the leading cause of death in children.
- A small child can disappear in a matter of seconds and drown in only a couple of inches of water. All that needs to be covered are the child’s mouth and nose.
- With each drowning induced death, there are 4-5 more incidents that led to injury that required hospitalization.
- Drowning can cause brain damage,
- Infants and toddlers drown in bathtubs and backyard pools while older children usually drown in large bodies of water.
- Adults usually drown from being swept under a current or from alcohol related factors.
A good practice is to enroll into a learn-to-swim program. Teach children water safety rules and keep them safe.
Tuesday - Drowning Prevention:
The leading cause of a child drowning is a lack of supervision. Even if a child can swim, it is necessary for an adult to be around to watch them. Remember to always provide anyone who cannot swim with a life jacket.
Backyard pools are nice to have and can keep your children busy for hours during a hot summer day. To ensure safety, make sure the pool is fenced in with a gate that latched and is self-closing. For toddler and smaller splash pools, empty water after each use. Never leave water in these pools.
Never dive head first unless you are trained and are certain that the water is deep enough. Home pools are usually not deep enough for diving and should be entered feet first.
Be very caution when swimming in a current. Make sure you are trained and know what to do in case you get swept away. If you are a weak swimming, the current can pull you under. Make sure anyone who cannot swim has a Personal Floatation Device or a life jacket.
Wednesday - Life Jackets vs PFD (Personal Flotation Device)
A Life Jacket is designed to help turn a person who may become unconscious from a face down position to a face up position, allowing the person to breathe. It is the best flotation device to wear in case something should happen to you and you are unable to help yourself get out of the water or move on your own.
A Personal Floatation Device is just designed to keep you afloat. These are less bulky and more comfortable to wear but will not turn you face up or support your neck. They have a limited capacity and should not be worn by anyone under 16 years of age. Some are inflatable and will inflate if they get wet. These types of life preservers are used more for sport and recreation use.
Children Flotation Devices
What to look for when purchasing a child’s flotation device:
- Approved labeling and appropriate chest size and weight.
- A large neck collar that will support the child’s head.
- A grab strap on the collar.
- Bright colors.
- Rust proof buckles and zippers.
- Waist ties that fit snuggly.
- Safety strap between legs helps to keep the life jacket from riding up or going over the head.
- Don’t buy a bigger life jacket so you can get more years of use out of it. When a life jacket is too big, the jacket might come off or not float like it’s supposed to.
Never use a child PFD as a supervision replacement.
Thursday - Boating Safety
Driving a boat is not the same as driving a car or truck. If there is an emergency or the engine breaks down, you can’t just walk to the nearest gas station. If you don’t have cell service, you will have to signal other boats or people on the shore.
Here are some items you should always have on your boat to be prepared for engine trouble:
- Flotation device or a life jacket for everyone
- Buoyant heaving line at least 15 meters in length
- Waterproof flashlight or flares
- An air horn
- A paddle and a rope or cable 15 meters long
- A pail or water pump
- Class 5 BC fire extinguisher
You are more exposed to the weather on a boat than in a car or truck. Other necessities are:
- Marine first aid kit
- Sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses
- Drinking water
- Dry clothing
- Water proof matches
Friday – Free Speech Friday
What are things that you do to prepare yourself and family for water activities? We all love summer and having fun in the water but we have to be aware of our surroundings. We all want to return home safely after a long day of work. Similarly, when we do our water activities, we want to return to work safely the next day. No matter where we are and what we are doing, we want to do things as safely as possible because any injury has a potential to affect our lives in a negative way. Being aware of where we are and what we are doing means stopping, thinking, and acting accordingly.
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