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Swim Lessons, Life Jackets Save Lives

YMCA of the Northwoods

May is Water Safety Month.

The Head Swim Instructor at the YMCA of the Northwoods Karen Fiocchi says it's a good time to learn to swim and think safety.

Fiocchi says learning to swim and wearing life jackets in a boat are the best ways to prevent drowning...

"....the Oneida County Drowing Prevention Task Force has helped with the DNR's program to have life jacket loaner stations we also say when kids are in swim lessons, 'reach or throw--don't go'. We teach the kids to lay down on the dock or deck and reach out to someone in distress or throw something that floats..."

A person in distress of drowning can also panic and make the rescuer vulnerable to drowning. Fiocchi says the person in distress likely won't exhibit traditional 'arm-waving' behavior, often just remaining under water trying to get a breath...

"....when someone is drowning, they're not yelling for help. They're trying to get a breath. Their head is back, their mouth is open, sometimes hyperventilating, eyes are glassy or closed, they're not able to make any progress. That 'quiet' drowning position is something people need to watch for...."

She recommended parents at the beach switch off watching the kids in the water so at no time are they not observed.

Fiocchi says swim lessons are available at various locations around the Northwoods. She says to check with the local public health departments or Chambers of Commerce to find where lessons are available in your area.

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