Public safety and healthcare officials offer safety tips for North County beachgoers
Spending the day at the beach is a great way to have fun and relax, but it is important to follow rules and guidelines that help keep everyone safe. The United States Lifesaving Association estimates that more than 100 people die each year due to dangerous rip currents at this country’s beaches, according to an AMR news release.
“From the water to the sand and the sun, there are a lot of hidden dangers at the beach that residents and visitors should be aware of before settling in for a relaxing day,” said Mike Stein, chief of Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar Fire and Marine Safety Department.
“Families must be mindful of their swimming abilities, and if they are unfamiliar with swimming in the ocean I would suggest that they learn some ocean swimming skills before they venture into the water,” added Madeleine Ghorashi, Government and Public Affairs manager for AMR, which provides medical transport service across San Diego County.
North coastal firefighters, lifeguards and medics from AMR want residents and visitors to enjoy the beautiful beaches in Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar, and are offering some important safety tips to make sure a great day in the water doesn’t turn tragic.
• Swimming in the ocean is different from swimming in a lake or pool. Swimmers need to be alert for changes in water depth, drop-offs, changing water and weather conditions, undercurrents or rip currents, local marine life, and watercraft.
• Only swim in designated areas that have a lifeguard on duty.
• Never swim alone.
• Never let children swim or play near the water or bluffs unsupervised.
• Keep your distance away from bluffs and walk and play closer to the water.
• Keep an eye on all members of your party. Drownings can happen quickly and without much sound or movement. Currents can also move people quickly, so always keep track of friends and family when they are in the water.
• If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shoreline until you can safely reach the beach.
• If you’re in distress in the water, draw attention to yourself. If you are unable to swim to shore safely, splash, wave your arms over your head and yell out for help.
• Never go swimming when under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
• If members of your party are drinking, make sure you have a sober water watcher who can monitor the group without distraction.
• Be prepared to call for help in an emergency and know how to perform CPR. If someone on the shore or in the water is in distress, call the lifeguard or dial 911 immediately. If water conditions are unsafe for swimming, do not attempt to rescue other swimmers.
• Wear sunscreen and stay hydrated.
For more information on beach safety, visit www.redcross.org. — AMR news release
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