Swim safety tops checklist

June 12, 2015 News Print Print

Warmer months mean many people will be around bodies of water.

Patricia Ross, head lifeguard at OCCC’s Aquatic Center, said there are many things people can do to stay safe this summer.

Using a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard instead of floaties is one, Ross said.

++Don't drownShe said life jackets keep your head out of the water at an appropriate angle, and don’t slide off like arm floaties can.

Ross also urges added caution when swimming at lakes and rivers — areas where you can’t see the bottom.

She said some lakes that are fed from a river may have an undertow, so those who aren’t strong swimmers may run into trouble.

There’s also the age-old warning of not diving into a foreign body of water where you cannot see the bottom, Ross said.

She said one never knows when there might be rocks just below the surface that could bring harm to a diver.

Ross also advises staying as calm as possible should an incident occur. She said that can be the difference between life and death.

She said if you spot someone who is having trouble keeping afloat, while it’s easy to imagine yourself diving in and rescuing them yourself, that would be the wrong step to take.

Instead, she said, throw something to that person that will help him or her stay afloat.

Ross said as long as you have somewhere to stand, stretching out a towel or throwing the person a rope is a good idea.

“A tree limb, a towel, or anything that floats is ideal to use,” she said.

“You want to brace yourself, because if they can’t stand, then they might pull you in with them.”

Ross said remembering these swimming rules may help save a life some day.

For more information, contact the Recreation and Fitness office at 405-682-1611, ext. 7860.


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