Enjoy your holiday, play it safe and return home alive

052214-Life-Jacket-sidebarKANSAS CITY, Mo. – Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, encourages you to do your part to reduce this cause by wearing a life jacket while in or around water. Statistics show that 89 percent of those who drown at Corps managed lakes and rivers may have survived if they had worn a life jacket. With this in mind here are useful safety tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day weekend.

Swimming in an undesignated area is more difficult than in a swimming pool. Your swimming abilities may be impacted due to waves, current, underwater obstructions. You could find yourself in a situation where you are fighting for your life with no chance of survival. Even the best swimmers can misjudge their skills and abilities while swimming in a lake or river. Peer pressure encourages friends to go beyond their skill level potentially putting swimmers in dangerous situations. Reverse the risk by challenging your friends to wear a life jacket while swimming in a designated area.

Over the last five years, 33 percent of drownings have occurred within 10 feet of safety. These drownings might have been prevented if a bystander would have recognized the signs of drowning. The four signs of a drowning victim can resemble someone playing in the water, including head back, mouth open gasping for air, no yelling or sound, and arms slapping the water like they are trying to climb out of the water.

If you observe these signs contact trained emergency personnel, reach to the victim, throw them something that floats, but don’t go into the water to rescue the victim. Entering the water will increase your risk of drowning while decreasing the chance of rescue for the victim you intended to save.

While having fun this Independence Day weekend remember these tips to help ensure you return home safely to those you love.

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