The recent United Kingdom heatwave has sent the masses to cool down in open bodies of water. With larger crowds gathering in the water, unfortunately, brings the dangers of water accidents and potential fatalities due to drowning. According to The Royal Life Saving Society UK, between July 17 through July 21, 2021, there have been 17 water-associated deaths.
With these unfortunate facts, one way to combat the statistics is to be aware of how to stay safe in the water and how to help others in danger without harming yourself.
One approach to be sure to know is the “float to live” technique. This approach requires you to stay calm, lie on your back and extend your arms and legs, and push your chest up to the sky. After adjusting your body and mindset, tilt your head back a little while floating and move your arms and legs as needed, as stated by The Independent.
As for helping others while making sure not to harm yourself, first try and explain the “float to live” approach to see if you can calm the person down and initiate a safe float for them. While trying to explain to the person in danger how to perform the “float to live”, you must be brainstorming safety measures to take in case further intervention is needed. Other safety measures to consider are immediately dialing 999 in the United Kingdom, or 911 in the United States. Furthermore, always be on the lookout for what can be used as a flotation device to throw or swim out to the person in need of assistance. If you want to ensure the highest degree of safety, seek out establishments that have lifeguards present.
“What we always say as a pre-emptive measure is always swim at a lifeguarded beach if at all possible…there are over 240 lifeguarded beaches across the UK,” says Gareth Morrison, head of water safety at the RNLI.
In an attempt to not have these statistics doubled with summer only halfway over, be sure to be cautious and aware of your surroundings and potential dangers. The Independent states that “Even experienced swimmers can find themselves in trouble.” This continues to remind strong swimmers not to be overconfident and to adjust their plans according to water conditions. For instance, be aware of strong currents, and bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, and oceans.
Meteorologists are predicting another heatwave for the month of August which is bound to attract large amounts of people to bodies of water to seek relief from the heat. To stay safe out there, be willing to help others who seem to be in danger because you would want the same for yourself if you were desperate for help in the water.