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Sheriff’s Corner: Exercise safety in the water with these tips

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By Staff Report

By Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram

Summer is here, and many citizens are already enjoying spending time in the water. Sadly, we have already lost several individuals in our area to drowning accidents. I would like to offer some tips for water safety for both swimming pools and the beach.

For the swimming pool:

•If no lifeguard is on duty, make sure children are accompanied by an adult who is familiar with CPR and life-saving techniques.

•For your home pool, post CPR instructions and 911 reminders on signage around your pool

•Make sure life-saving devices are easily seen and accessible

•Make sure covers are installed on all drains of a swimming pool. The suction created by the pool’s pumps can be very dangerous unless it is reduced by covers.

•Take breaks (about once an hour) where everyone gets out of the pool, gets a drink of water or a snack, reapplies sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) and rests.

•If a child is missing, check the pool first. Go to the edge of the pool and look over the entire pool, bottom and surface, as well as the surrounding pool area.

•Swim only in pools in which water quality is properly maintained. The water should look clear, be continuously circulating and be maintained at a level that allows free overflow into the gutter or skimmer. There should not be a strong odor of ammonia or chlorine.

At the beach:

•Swim in an area that is supervised by a lifeguard and never swim alone.

•If you get caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can’t swim to shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.

•Don’t swim if you are too tired, too cold, too far from safety, have had too much sun or are too fatigued.

•Make sure you are swimming in water that does not appear to be contaminated with floating debris or waste. Waterfowl produce a lot of waste, which causes high levels of bacteria in the water.

•Don’t swim in stagnant water.

•Avoid swimming at any beach right after a heavy rain. Runoff after a heavy rain may cause high bacteria levels.

•Avoid having beach water in your mouth or nose.

Following these precautions will help the children and citizens of Brunswick County stay safe and healthy throughout the summer.