Water Safety

Rebecca Katzman, MDBy Dr. Rebecca Katzman

We are lucky to live in close proximity to recreational bodies of water in and around Orofino. The Clearwater River, Dworshak Reservoir, and other areas provide a great place to cool off on these increasingly warm summer days. Water safety is important year-round, as even bathtubs and buckets can lead to drowning or water related injuries. Summer is a notable time when we are often around these larger bodies of water. The American Red Cross recommends everyone in the family becomes “Water Competent” to help improve safety around water. Being Water Component means knowing how safely to get in and out of water and how to stay afloat. Like many things in health and safety, this often starts with prevention. Take sensible precautions such as knowing your own fitness level and swimming strength. Never swim alone or swim while intoxicated. Children, inexperienced swimmers, and boaters should wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket that is the correct fit and size. Learning how to float and tread water can be taught to even some of our youngest family members. Natural bodies of water may have additional risks of fast moving currents or wakes, sudden drop offs, and underwater obstacles and debris. In addition to our own safety, we want to help protect those around us. Be mindful of others who may not be strong swimmers. Make sure one adult is designated to watch young children without distractions – injuries can occur with lots of adults around if everyone assumes someone else is watching. Drowning can occur in the time it takes to check a phone. If you do need to rescue a swimmer, make sure the scene is safe and that you are physically able to perform the rescue. In an emergency, designate someone to call EMS and being CPR if you are trained. Hopefully with some precautions and mindful approach to water safety, we can all enjoy time spent outdoors this summer.