Tips for a summer of water fun on International Water Safety Day

By Sue Wilson, American Red Cross volunteer and former nine- year board member

As warm weather arrives in our area after a long winter, many are anxious to get in andSwimming and Water Safety manual 2014 enjoy the many natural water resources Northeast Ohio is fortunate to have, from magnificent Lake Erie and its islands, to the beautiful Cuyahoga River. In the Akron area, thousands enjoy boating, swimming and water skiing on the Portage Lakes in additional to local ponds, lakes and pools. It is crucial that adults and children are committed to water safety and take precautions as they prepare for a summer of water fun.

May 15th is International Water Safety Day, and the American Red Cross encourages you to “do your part, be water smart.”  The goal of Water Safety Day is to spread awareness Aquatic Centennial Campaign 2016of the ongoing drowning pandemic in the United States and around the world, and educate people to be safe in and around water. Among preventable injuries, drowning is the leading cause of death for children one to four years old. But people of all ages can drown in all kinds of situations.

Here are some water smart safety tips to get ready for summer fun:

  • Talk to your family, and all adult caregivers, about the importance of water safety and commit to safety rules. Take the Pool Safely Pledge and share it on your social media. Use the hashtags #PledgeItOn and #IWSD. Challenge your friends and family to join you and take the pledge as well.
  • Download the Red Cross Swim App for a variety of kid-friendly games, videos and quizzes. Water safety information for parents for a variety of aquatic environments (waterpark, pool, beach, lake) is also included as well as a progress-checker for swim lessons.
  • Learn to swim. People can find age-appropriate water orientation and Learn-to-Swim programs for themselves and their family members by contacting their local aquatic facility and asking for American Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety programs, or by visiting redcross.org/watersafety.

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Water safety goes beyond the outdoors. International Water Safety Day is a good time to think about water safety around the house, too:

  • Watch kids when they are in or around water, without being distracted.
  • Empty all tubs, buckets, containers and kiddie pools immediately after use.
  • Close toilet lids and use toilet seat locks to prevent drowning.
  • Install fences around home pools.
  • Know what to do in an emergency. Take a CPR or First Aid Class through your local Red Cross.

Find more water safety tips here.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Young lifeguards receive Red Cross award for saving man’s life

By Sue Wilson, Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter board of directors. Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer.

Four lifeguards trained by the American Red Cross have been honored for saving a man’s life. Ryan Grimesey, Andrew Bachie, Nathaniel French and John Porch jumped into action after finding a man lying unresponsive on the floor of the Middleburg Heights Recreation Center last July. They called for EMS and performed CPR with an AED until medics arrived.

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L to R: Tim O’Toole, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio regional disaster officer, Middleburg Heights Mayor Gary Starr, Ryan Grimesey, Nathaniel French, Andrew Bachie, Jeff Minch, Middleburg Heights recreation director, and Jessica Rockhill, aquatics/facilities director

The lifeguards were honored with the American Red Cross Lifesaving Award at a Middleburg Heights City Council meeting on Tuesday, December 11, 2018. This is one of the highest awards given by the Red Cross to an individual or team for saving or sustaining a life by using skills and knowledge learned in a Red Cross course.

The team of young men were on duty at the Middleburg Heights Community Center on July 5 when a call came across the radio that a man was lying on the floor in the locker room. All four moved in, each handling a specific aspect of the lifesaving techniques they had been trained for with precision.

Ryan Grimesey said they all knew what they needed to do. “I have been training with Andrew, John and Nathaniel for a few years now, and our chemistry is extraordinary, as are each of them. Everyone knew their part like it was the back of their hand. It was a team effort, and they were the best team I could have asked for.”

We often hear stories of “heroes” who step in and handle a situation in a way many of us fear we would not have the confidence to do, and these young men were no exception, expressing humility about their efforts; each crediting the other.

“It’s easy to have confidence in your actions when you are surrounded by great people,” said Ryan.

Nate French concurred: “This whole situation was held together by my coworkers. The people I worked with are not only well qualified and prepared, but level-headed and team players as well. Ryan, John and Andrew all kept their composure and acted efficiently. I wouldn’t have asked for anyone else to be on a team with.”

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Left to Right: Ryan Grimesey, Nathaniel French, Andrew Bachie and Tim O’Toole during the presentation of the Lifesaving Award during the Middleburg Heights City Council meeting.

It is preparedness that is key. All four were trained in the extensive programs available through the Red Cross, like the Water Safety and Lifeguarding courses that gave them the knowledge and skill to deliver critical care services like CPR, first aid and AED administration for situations such as this. Once in the training room, the lifeguards saw what was happening and did what needed to be done.

“We communicated with each other on what we were doing and instructed one another on what should happen next,” said Nate.

“It’s gratifying to know that Red Cross training played a part in helping save a life,” said Tim O’Toole, American Red Cross Regional Disaster Officer, who presented the awards during the ceremony on behalf of the American Red Cross Board of Governors. “The swift and decisive actions of these four lifeguards exemplify the Red Cross mission to help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.”

The American Red Cross offers training programs in various areas from first aid, CPR, AED administration, water safety, babysitting and more. The programs use methods designed by a team of nationally recognized experts with the latest evidence-based data to create training programs to help save lives. Learn more about Red Cross lifesaving courses here.

Visit our Flickr page to view photos from the Lifesaving Award presentation.

Be Water Smart

It’s International Water Safety Day

By Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross Volunteer

May 15 is International Water Safety Day. The day is designed to spread awareness about drowning and promote water safety education. It is a timely reminder as summer approaches.

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Summertime brings warmer weather and outdoor fun. Children splash in community pools and water parks, families head to beaches and shorelines to enjoy boating, fishing and water sports, or travel to vacation destinations.

The water invites us to cool off and be carefree. Yet, every day, an average of 10 people die in the United States from unintentional drowning. And 1 in 5 of them are children 14 or younger, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Based on an American Red Cross survey, more than half of all Americans (54 percent) either can’t swim or don’t have all the basic swimming skills. The Red Cross recommends that everyone learn critical water safety skills, also known as “water competency.” To download water safety tip sheets, visit RedCross.org/watersafety. 

Centennial Campaign: Helping Save Lives

In May 2014, the Red Cross launched its Centennial Campaign to mark 100 years of swimming safety education in the United States. This five-year campaign is aimed at reducing drowning in 50 communities where drowning rates exceed the national average. Since the Centennial Campaign launch, children and adults have participated in more than 41,340 sets of swim lessons.

Take Steps to Stay Safe

The Red Cross is asking every family to make sure that both adults and children can swim—and that parents make water safety a priority this summer. To find water orientation and Learn-to-Swim programs for you and your family, contact your local aquatic center and ask for American Red Cross swimming and water safety programs. Or visit RedCross.org/TakeAClass/swimming.

Do your part, be water smart. Then jump in, make some waves and have fun this summer!

 

 

Fourth of July Safety Tips

Happy Independence Day!Founders
Northeast Ohioans can expect a gorgeous Holiday weekend and many are expected to celebrate at a backyard party or poolside.

Whatever way you chose to enjoy yourself during the party weekend of the summer, be sure to keep these simple, safety tips in mind.

Soak Up the Sun, Safely:

Keep your skin safe by wearing sunscreen outdoors, even if it is partly sunny. But how exactly does sunscreen work? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most sun protection products work by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight. All products do not have the same ingredients so if you have a bad skin reaction to one brand, try another.

Know your sunscreen’s rating. All sunscreens have a sun protection factor (SPF) number clearly stated on their label. The SPF number illustrates their effectiveness in blocking UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. Look for sunscreen with at least a rating of SPF 15. This number applies to cosmetics that contain sunscreen as well. And be sure to check out your label’s directions regarding reapplication. Most brands recommend reapplying after two hours or after swimming, sweating or toweling off.

Sunscreen does have a shelf life! Check your sunscreen’s expiration date. If it is expired, or you’ve had it for three years, throw it out and purchase new.

Take Water Seriously:

Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water, even if you are not “thirsty”. Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages in excess.

Use the buddy system when swimming. No one should swim alone. Adults should pay close and constant attention to children and inexperienced swimmers. Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.

Download the free Red Cross Swim and First Aid Apps. Swim App users can learn water safety and drowning prevention information for a variety of aquatic environments. Children can have fun learning water safety tips with the child-friendly videos and quizzes in the app. The First Aid App puts expert advice for everyday emergencies at someone’s fingertips. The apps are available for smart phones and tablets and can be downloaded from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores. The Swim App is also available in the Amazon Kindle Store.

Backyard Pool Owners can take the Home Pool Essentials online course. The Red Cross and National Swimming Pool Foundation have developed an online safety course for pool and hot tub owners. Home Pool Essentials (HomePoolEssentials.org) helps people understand the risks of pool ownership, how to maintain a safer and cleaner pool, what safety equipment is appropriate, how to prevent pool and hot tub entrapment hazards and how to respond to an emergency.

For more water safety information check out redcross.org.

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