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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (July 6, 2013) - The Independence Day holiday is typically among the busiest times of the year at the region's lakes and rivers, and this year, will likely be no exception. It is a great time for outdoor water fun, but Army Corps of Engineers officials advise everyone to practice good water safety habits.
Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death, yet the number of
deaths by drowning could be reduced drastically if everyone would wear a
Statistics show that 89 percent of those who drown at
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes and rivers may have survived if they
had worn a life jacket.
people believe that if someone is drowning they will yell for help and
that is not the case at all. Several people drown every year within 10
feet of safety because the people around them did not recognize the
signs of drowning," said Pam Doty, National Water Safety Program Manager
for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
This is because the four
signs of a drowning victim can resemble someone just playing in the
water. They include head back, mouth open gasping for air, no yelling
or sound, and arms slapping the water like they are trying to climb out
of the water.
Properly rescuing someone should never include contact
with them unless you are a trained lifeguard. Reach out to the victim
with something to keep your distance or throw them something that floats
to pull them to safety.
Here are some safety tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July holiday:
-While on or near the water watch your children at all times. It only takes 20 seconds for a child to drown.
-Swimming in open water is different and more difficult than in a swimming pool. You can tire more quickly and get into trouble due to waves, current, lack of experience, exhaustion or your abilities have decreased. You could find yourself in a situation where you are fighting for your life with no chance of survival. Even the best swimmers can misjudge their skills and abilities while swimming in a lake or river. Conditions can change quickly in open water, so before entering the water, please wear a life jacket.
-While wearing a life jacket you will not use as much energy, it will help you float and most importantly it will help ensure that you return home alive to those who love you. Peer pressure can sometimes kill people so friends should make friends swim in designated areas and wear a life jacket.
-An unfortunate example of not wearing a life jacket in open water happened this past weekend when two people died while visiting Greers Ferry Lake.
-If you don't have a life jacket or forget yours, a limited supply of life jackets are available for loan at Beaver, Table Rock, Bull Shoals, Norfork, Clearwater, Greers Ferry, Nimrod, Blue Mountain, Millwood, Dierks, DeQueen and Gillham lakes, as well as several Corps parks along the Arkansas River.
Water safety tips and life jacket loaner program information can be found on the website, Facebook and Twitter.
(Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)