Safety Experts Give Tips on Water Safety

By: Karen Campbell Email
By: Karen Campbell Email

Safety experts say a person can drown in a matter of minutes, and it's important to know what to do to prevent that from happening.

"If we see someone that we know that cannot swim, we need to immediately ask them to go to the shallow waters," says Nichole Madison, a lifeguard at Massanutten Resort.

Lifeguards at the resort sometimes watch over thousands of people everyday, so having rigorous training sessions keeps them on their toes.

"A very important thing is picking out your distressed swimmers. Which ones are having trouble staying above water and which ones could have the potential of going under water," says Jaren Thomas, another lifeguard at Massanutten Resort.

Safety experts say parents are often the best teachers.

"If a parent demonstrates fear of the water, the child can learn that, so that's another reason a parent should learn to swim and not be afraid of the water," says Bill Frazier, Acquatic Operations Manager at the resort.

Others say it's not just swimming pools about which we should be concerned.

"Ponds are something that we know kids are attracted to, so wherever you are, wherever there's water, just make sure that your kids are aware that it's very dangerous. Even if they think they can swim, they need a grown up with them," says Lt. Wanda Willis, Fire Prevention Education Specialist with the Harrisonburg Fire Department and Coordinator for the Central Shenandoah Valley Safe Kids Coalition.

Willis says parents should also teach their kids at a young age that water is fun but can also be dangerous.

"With your parent right there watching your child, it's almost guaranteed that nothing is going to happen to them," says Thomas.

"You could save your child's life because you never know what could happen," adds Madison.


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