Hot weather is upon us in the Willamette Valley and people are already swimming in our creeks, rivers and lakes. Several drownings in Oregon this year alone should raise some very large red flags. Swimming is a fun and healthy activity, but it can be dangerous.
The Silverton Fire District life jacket loaner stations at the Silverton City Park and at the Silverton Reservoir will be supplied with several adult and youth sized personal floatation devices. The process for using the life jacket’s is simple; take them off the hangers and use them and then put them back when you are done with them. There is no charge for this service.
Every year the Silverton Fire District responds to water fatalities, near fatalities and water rescues. Most, if not all, of these tragedies can be avoided by following some very easy tips provided by the American Red Cross:
1) Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
2) Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
3) Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
4) Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
5) Maintain constant supervision.
6) Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well.
7) If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.
8) Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
9) If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
10) Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
11) Enroll in Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.
12) Drink plenty of water regularly, even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.
Knowing how to swim well is the first line of defense in the water and making sure that your family knows how to swim well can keep water tragedies from becoming a reality. However, it is important to understand that even the strongest swimmers can easily become tired in the water very quickly especially after drinking alcohol and eating heavy meals. Know what your own limitations are and listen to what your body is telling you; if realize that you are becoming fatigued, get out of the water and take a rest.
The Silverton Fire District would like everyone to stay safe in and around the water. By doing your part, you can help prevent these yearly tragedies that effect so many lives.