Please be sure to read the new pool rules signs.
Swimming is great exercise for people of all ages. Before you hit the water, it wouldn’t hurt to refresh your memory about swimming pool safety.
Swimming pools are a great resource for seniors in terms of health and socialization, but safety is an important focus. It’s crucial that seniors and people of all ages take care to follow water safety precautions to stay safe in and around the water.
Consult with your doctor before beginning swimming pool exercises ~ Before you jump into the pool and start getting that great workout, consult a medical professional to get on the same page in terms of abilities, limitations, and schedules. The swimming strength you had as a teenager or in navy boot-camp may have slipped a bit, so make sure your physician gives you the OK to be in water that is over your head in depth.
Swim with another person ~ Since we were little kids, we have heard, “Swim with a buddy”. No matter what age you are, swimming alone always poses a risk. And even if there is a crowd around, that doesn’t mean they will notice someone in trouble. Drowning is silent – contrary to hundreds of incorrect media depictions, a victim that is truly drowning doesn’t wave or scream for help. Their respiratory system is struggling for air to breathe and vocalization is nearly impossible (see video at the bottom of this page.) That’s why it’s important that there’s someone nearby able to assist you or call for help in case there were to be an emergency pool situation. And that person should be in the water with you or on the side of the pool watching you, not chatting with a neighbor or have their nose buried in a book.
Clear the swimming pool area of all unnecessary clutter ~ Removing all trip and fall hazards around the pool area is essential in creating a safe environment. Get rid of the unnecessary dangers and keep the deck area organized. Keep the safety line in place to give a handhold to someone who may be in trouble and also prevents weak swimmers from wandering into water that’s over their heads. If you are swimming laps, be sure to replace the safety line as soon as you are done.
Watch the kids!
And that means really watch them – not have your nose buried in a book. As mentioned before, DROWNING IS SILENT! They can’t cry out for help. The best rule with youngsters around the water is “If your child is near the water, you should be near your child!”
Be ready to help
If you see someone you believe is in trouble you don’t have to be a Baywatch hero to assist the victim. First – call for help; yell “Someone is Drowning, call 911!” and say it several times. If there is nobody else around, call 911 on your cell phone. If the person is struggling on the water’s surface, extend the “Shepard’s Crook” rescue pole that is on the side of the pool. You might even be able to hook the person and pull them to the side of the pool if they can’t grab it.
If you are in the water, try not to let a struggling person grab hold of you. Even a small individual can have tremendous strength in a panic situation and they might be able to drag you down. Instead, extend the life ring to them and tell them to grab on. Then pull them to the side. If you feel yourself being pulled in, release hold of the object and try something else.
If they are unconscious and on the bottom of the pool a strong swimmer (hopefully more than one and with lifesaving training) should attempt to dive to the bottom and bring them to the surface. Then bring them to the side of the pool where others can help get the victim out of the water and commence rescue breathing (mouth to mouth) and/or CPR by Red Cross or Heart Association certified individuals. Remember – Do NOT give CPR to someone who has a pulse. That can trigger cardiac arrest. To learn more about pool safety, contact the American Red Cross or try these web sites:
Consumer Product Safety Commission – www.poolsafely.gov
CREDITS: American Red Cross, Pool Safely.gov, Liner.com, ABC 6 Orlando, Tim Smalley (MN water safety – ret.)