WATER SAFETY EDUCATION:
The U.S. Water Rescue Dive Team’s mission is to reduce the number of water-related incidents and deaths by providing water safety and awareness education. We fulfill this mission by providing water safety classes that are geared to meet participants’ level of interest, whether they are teaching children at swimming pools and lakes or talking around the table at civic groups’ meetings.
While fun and educational, these classes are meant to be life-saving. During 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available, nearly one-third of all deaths of children age 14 and younger were from drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although drowning rates have slowly declined, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years, the CDC reports.
Adults are also at risk of unintentional drowning. These tragedies occurred at an average rate of 10 a day during 2005 when the CDC reported 3,582 fatal, unintentional drowning in the United States. Another 710 people died from drowning and other causes in boating-related incidents, according to the CDC. During that year, men were four times more likely than women to die from unintentional drowning.
Victims who are rescued and survive often suffer long-term disabilities including memory problems, learning disabilities and permanent loss of basic functioning as they remain in vegetative states.
U.S. Water Rescue Dive Team members work each year with children in the YMCA water safety class, volunteer at child safety fairs and are available to give presentations in classrooms, for organizations and small groups. For more information, call the team at (406) 591-4649 or send an e-mail from the contact us page.
Water Safety Tips
General Water Safety Rules
- Learn To Swim
- Never Swim Alone
- Swim Only in Safe Areas, Never Swim in a Ditch or River
- Never Chew Gum or Eat While Swimming
- Supervise Children and Weak Swimmers at All Times
- Always Wear a Personal Flotation Device/Life Jacket When Boating or Near Moving Water
- RESPECT THE WATER
Basic Rescue Guidelines
- Reach- hold on to something stable and reach with your other hand to the person in the water
- Throw- if you cannot reach with your hand, toss things that float for the person to hold onto
- Row- if in a boat use oars to move the boat close to the person in the water
- Don’t Go- do not go into the water unless professionally trained and certified and have the necessary equipment to do so
- Know your boat
- Always wear a Personal Flotation Device/Life Jacket
- Don’t stand while boat is moving
- Make sure there is an experienced adult operating the boat
- Don’t get on the boat if the operator has been drinking alcohol
- Check the weather prior to departing
- Carry a cell phone in a waterproof container (can be as simple as placing phone in a heavy duty zip lock bag and using duct tape to seal it).
- Let someone know where you are going and when you will return, and stick to that plan
- If floating a river, use a professional guide and raft
- A river is moving faster than it appears, strong currents and undertows can make it impossible to swim effectively, even in shallow water
- A river can have many hidden dangers beneath the surface that can trap or severely injure you. Some of these dangers include: cars, glass, trees, debris, sharp metal objects, barb wire, etc.
- Hypothermia: water dissipates heat away from the body 20 times faster than air, even in the summer time, extended exposure to the water can be dangerous.
- If caught in a current, float on your back traveling downstream feet first, angle your body towards shore (45 degree angle)
- Pay close attention to weather and news alerts
- Don't try to drive across flooded roads, water can stall a vehicle and waters can rise extremely fast putting the driver and passengers at risk. Swiftwater can easily move a car.
- If in immediate danger of flood water, move to higher ground ASAP.
- Do not play in or drink flood water, flood water is contaminated with numerous health hazards
- If aware that a flood is coming, be prepared, have plenty of food, bottled water, radio, flashlights, batteries, and clothes
We all need air to breath and water can easily prevent us from doing so, all it takes is enough water to cover our mouth and nose!
From the U.S. National Weather Service:
Turn Around Don't Drown®
Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. People underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded. A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles. It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters.
By Kathy Weber Kulr8.com
Story Published: May 1, 2009 at 10:59 PM MDT
BILLINGS - While it may be a month or two before swimming hits its peak in the area, accidental drowning remains the second leading killer of kids in America. But experts say there are some misconceptions that may hold parents back from protecting their children. Billings YMCA Aquatics Director, Crystal Davis, devotes her days to teaching the finer points of swimming and safety. She says while teaching children to swim is important, it guarantees nothing. "It's not the catch all. Even though your children may know how to swim, still they have to have a supervising adult around." Another misconception is that a parent can multi-task while supervising a child in the water. "Parents often think that their child is going to yell for help so if they turn to grab something or if they are eating and not keeping their eyes on the pool, they're going to yell for help. But, they are not always going to yell for help. Sometimes there are silent drowning victims. They will go under without notice." The Safe Kids U.S.A Coalition has come up with the "Water Watcher Program" which includes a badge for parents to wear while children are in the water, with the promise they won't take their eyes off the child, not even for a second. Davis explains, "It says while wearing this tag, I agree to supervise children in the open water or pool, keeping them in sight at all times. It's just a reminder that they are not socializing or eating, they are just watching the children. Otherwise, every adult assumes someone is watching. And that's when a drowning can happen." Davis emphasizes it only takes a split second for a child to drown, even if they know how to swim. And no distraction is worth losing a child's precious life. "That's the tragic part about accidental deaths like this is that they're preventable. If you watch your children around the bathtub, in the pool wherever they are if they are around water, an adult needs to be designated to just watching the children."