CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – In the middle of summer heading to the water is an inexpensive and fun way to stay cool, but as we’ve seen here in western Massachusetts it can quickly turn deadly.
Every day, 10 people die from accidental drownings; for kids that are 1 to 4 years old, it’s the number one killer.
Most recently here in western Massachusetts, a UMass track athlete drowned in the Deerfield river, an area that was not life-guarded. Last week, a Springfield man drowned while trying to save his 14-year-old sister.
Both of these areas were posted no swimming areas.
“Those areas are posted dangerous for a reason, they are dangerous. Moving water you have no idea what’s in the water, how deep the water is. You may have a body of water where you get three quarters of the way across and your knee deep in water and then all of a sudden it drops off to ten feet” said Lt. Dennis Foley of the West Springfield Fire Department.
The biggest warning sign for drowning is that there is none most drownings happen with in seconds and there’s no thrashing at all.
Lt. Foley shared a saying with 22News: reach, throw, row, don’t go. If someone falls in the water try and reach something out to them, if you cant reach then throw something to help them stay afloat. Never jump in to try and rescue someone, because they can pull you under.
Foley said it’s best to swim where there’s an lifeguard on-duty .
“We want to go somewhere where there are lifeguards and stuff like that. We usually sometimes go to rivers, and there’s not really lifeguards over there, so this is probably one of the safest places,” said Aneudi Lopez of Holyoke.
Click here for water safety tips from the American Red Cross.
If you do see someone who appears to be drowning in an area with no lifeguard, there are steps you can take to save their life.
- First, yell for someone to call 911.
- Use something long, like a skimmer, to pull them to the side of the pool, close to where you are.
- Do not jump in to rescue the person, as they could pull you under in an attempt to save themselves.
- If they’re close enough, grab them by the wrists and pull them out of the water.
- Roll them over and check to see if they’re breathing. If necessary, CPR may need to be administered by someone who knows how to perform it.
One last tip for you, when you see someone in distress immediately call 9-1-1 and try to remember exactly where you saw that person go under, that can help make for a much quicker rescue.