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These water safety reminders could save your life

Posted at 2:37 PM, Jul 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 16:37:47-04

In the height of the summer season with the holiday weekend ahead, a warning when it comes to water safety.  

Drowning deaths in Utah this year have already surpassed the number of fatal drownings for all of 2021.

But experts hope a couple reminders and some key phrases could help keep you safe when you and your family play in or near the water.  

The first phrase is, “Reach, Throw, Row, Don’t go.”

Allie Henderson , Wellness & Safety Consultant for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah says, “You want to think Reach – reach out with something like a swim noodle or a paddle.  And then Throw – throw something that floats. Then Row out to them if necessary.”

But one of the biggest precautions you can take?

“Don’t go into the water or make physical contact with a person who is drowning,” says Henderson. “That is actually where most deaths occur – when someone who is trying to save another person.”

Henderson says that’s where most people go wrong – because people who are struggling in the water will oftentimes pull down a rescuer.

There’s another saying as well, that can help save your life if you are the one in Danger. “Flip, Float and Follow,” says Henderson.

If you are struggling in the water, flip onto your back and try to remain calm. Float, keeping your head above water and try to save your energy. Then follow the safest path to get out of the water.

“If there’s a really strong current, try to just float with it until it calms down and you’re in a better place to try to swim to safety or to shore and not to have to fight so hard,” says Henderson.

And do not forget to wear your life jacket – it is the number one tool to prevent drownings. Swim lessons can also make a huge difference.

“Those who have been enrolled in swim lessons are 88% less likely to drown,” says Henderson.

Another factor that can decrease your risk on the water – avoid alcohol. Up to 70 percent of accidents in the water often involved drinking.