American Red Cross now offering tips on water safety

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Fourth of July proves to be a time when many people travel, especially to the beaches of North Carolina. However, the summer, in general, is also when people want to get back out into the water in general.

American Red Cross officials are now giving tips and advice when it comes to staying safe in the water.

“Your swimming ability may not be where it needs to be, so we need to be extra precautious,” said Mace Robinson, the American Red Cross Northeastern NC Branch Executive Director.

As holiday’s roll around and temperatures continue to rise, water safety is a hot topic.

“People haven’t been in the water in a year and a half. Dealing with the pandemic and whatnot, people are used to a certain level of swimming ability,” said Robinson.

Mace Robinson is the Executive Director for the Northeastern North Carolina Red Cross branch here in Greenville. He notes that although many may be vaccinated, those who aren’t should still express caution when at pools and other bodies of water.

“If you’re not vaccinated based on CDC guidance, we still want you to remain six feet apart from everyone.”

He also notes that beaches and water parks are expected to be popular destinations this summer. Saying riptides and other natural occurrences need to be looked out for.

“If you do get caught in a riptide, make sure that you swim parallel to the shoreline.”

Overall, Robinson and other officials say they just want to keep people safe, especially with the Fourth of July holiday coming up.

“I love fireworks, I enjoy them myself, if it doesn’t go off don’t approach it. Water, water, water, keep water nearby even if you’re just playing with sparklers or anything like that,” said Robinson.

The Red Cross actually has a swimming app and There you can find out more safety tips and also learn more about different services the Red Cross provides like blood donations.

Below are more tips as listed from the American Red Cross:

BEACH SAFETY

· Swimming in the ocean, a lake, or a river is different than swimming in a pool. Be sure you have the skills for these environments.

· Swim only at a beach with a lifeguard, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards and ask them about local conditions.

· Make sure you swim sober and that you always swim with a buddy.

· Protect your neck—don’t dive headfirst. Check for water depth and obstructions and walk carefully into open waters.

· Know your limitations and make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.

· If you are caught in a rip current, try not to panic. Signal to those on shore that you need assistance. Stay calm and don’t fight it. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, swim toward shore. If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.

WATER PARK SAFETY

· Make sure lifeguards are on duty before you go in the water and follow all their instructions.

· Wear protective clothing, including a hat and some kind of cover-up for when you’ve had enough sun.

· Use waterproof sunscreen before leaving home and reapply during the day and drink plenty of fluids

· Read the signage at each waterpark attraction—including height, weight or age requirements, water depth, health and safety advisories, and how to safely use the attraction.

· Parents—keep an eye on the kids. If they can’t swim or are less than four feet tall, have them wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

· Signal a lifeguard if you see someone is in trouble. Yell if you need to grab attention, but don’t go in after the person yourself.

· Set up a meeting place in case someone gets separated from your group. Use the buddy system to make sure no child is alone

WATER SAFETY

· Designate a “water watcher” to keep a close eye and constant attention on children and weaker swimmers in and around the water until the next water watcher takes over.

· Always swim with a buddy in a lifeguarded area and follow the rules of the facility.

· Provide close and constant attention to those you are supervising in the water.

· Stay within arm’s reach of young children and new swimmers.

· Check the water depth and don’t swim or play beyond your swimming abilities.

· Children, weak or non-swimmers, and all boaters should wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

· Watch the weather and get out of the water at the first sign of lightning or rumble of thunder. Stay indoors and away from the water for 30 minutes after the last lightning flashes or thunder roars.

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