REC REPORT: Drowning doesn’t look like drowning

With summer on its way, many of us will spend time enjoying ourselves at one of our nearby lakes.

The Summer Brochure can be viewed online, at www.rossland.ca. You can also pick up a hard copy at city hall, in the recreation department. If you’re wondering about the pool schedule, the June schedule is in the brochure on page 4 and the July/August schedule is on page 5. There are lots of great recreation programs running over the summer. If you have a young person in the house who’s looking for something to do, please check out the recreation brochure for inspiration.

With summer on its way, many of us will spend time enjoying ourselves at one of our nearby lakes. Many of us will spend time watching or observing other people swimming and a few of us will have the unpleasant experience of dealing with a potential drowning. So that you’re familiar with what drowning looks like, the recreation department thought it a good idea to review some basics.Why? Because drowning doesn’t look like drowning! Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life.

“The new captain jumped from the cockpit, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the owners who were swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. ”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”

How did this captain know, from fifty feet away, what the father couldn’t recognize from just ten? Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water, you should make sure that you know what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound.

To get an idea of just how quiet and un-dramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drowning’s, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening.

Signs to look for that a person is distressed in the water, include the following;  Head low in the water, mouth at water level; head tilted back with mouth open, eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus, hair over forehead or eyes; trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway; not using legs – the body is vertical in the water; eyes closed; hyperventilating or gasping; trying to roll over on the back; hands are coming out of the water in a “ladder climb” fashion. (source: CDC)

Aqua Tot at the Rossland Pool is a great time for Parents with infants and toddlers to socialize while introducing safe and enjoyable water time to the little ones. Aqua Tot lessons are offered Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m.- 12 p.m. Lessons will cover buoyancy, movement, floating, gliding and swimming skills while enjoying active water play. Parents can enjoy coming as often or as little as your summer schedule permits. With the park located right next door, prolonging the social time to include lunch in the park, is a great way to enjoy summer with other parents of young children.

If you have a young person in the house who’s interested in film and movie making, the “Lights, Camera, Action” Film Camp is scheduled for Tuesday August 7 to Friday August 10 from 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. The camp will teach story development, film-making and editing and result in a completed project to premier for friends and family in an exciting “wrap up” showcase. Students will benefit from the development of new skills, group work, teamwork and leadership skills.

Private swimming lessons at the Rossland Pool are possible, depending on the scheduled activities that are going on. If you’re interested in private lessons, please speak with the recreation department or the pool staff to discuss available times.

The Bronze Cross at the Rossland pool is being offered July 30-Aug. 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. This course is designed for lifesavers who want the challenge of more advanced training, including an introduction to safe supervision in aquatic facilities. The Bronze Cross is a prerequisite for all advanced training programs, including the National Lifeguard Standard, (NLS) and Instructor Certifications. The prerequisite for this course is the Bronze Medallion.

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