Red Cross has these recommendations
By Cecilia Brown
Journal Staff Writer
MARQUETTE — It’s important to know how to recognize a swimmer in distress, as an aquatic emergency can happen “quickly and silently,” according to the American Red Cross.
Every moment counts in a water emergency and a person’s survival is dependent on “quick rescue and immediate care.”
The Red Cross recommends the following to recognize a swimmer in distress:
• A swimmer in distress may still try to swim but makes little or no forward progress. If not helped, a swimmer in distress will soon become a drowning victim.
• An active drowning victim may be vertical in the water but unable to move forward or tread water. An active drowning victim may try to press down with the arms at the side in an instinctive attempt to keep the head above water.
• A passive drowning victim is motionless and floating face down on the bottom or near the surface of the water.
• Do not assume that a swimmer in distress is joking or playing around.
The Red Cross recommends the following when handling or preparing for an aquatic emergency:
• If someone is missing, check the water first.
• Reach or throw, don’t go. If possible, reach to pull the person to safety or throw a flotation device for them to use rather than going into the water yourself. Have reaching and throwing equipment on hand, such as ring buoys or reaching poles, or even a water jug tied to a rope or a broom.
• Whenever boating or near water, even if you don’t expect to go in, always have U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets available. Life jackets should be the proper size for each individual and in good condition.
• Know how and when to call 911 or the local emergency number. Have cell phones or portable phones nearby to help ensure that you can quickly call 911 in the event of an emergency.
• Have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand. Ensure that you know how to use the equipment and that expiration dates have not passed.
• Enroll in Red Cross water safety, first aid and CPR courses to learn what to do.