Water Safety Information from Boone Fire Department 

Last Updated on June 6, 2024 4:19 pm

Now that it is warm enough to get out and enjoy the waters of Watauga County, the Boone Fire Department wants to share the following information about water safety.  Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death in the United States.  Every day an average of 10 people die from unintentional drowning.  It only takes a few seconds.  Children and weak swimmers can drown in the time it takes to reply to a text.  Death and injury from drownings occur every day in pools, hot tubs, bathtubs, buckets, lakes, rivers, streams and oceans.  It could take only a few teaspoons of water to drown!

Caregivers should create layers of protection that include fences or barriers, life jackets and close supervision to prevent drowning.  Everyone should learn to swim and achieve a level of water competency that will allow them to enter the water, submerge their heads, resurface, be able to get a breath of air, stay afloat, change position in the water, swim a short distance and get back out of the water.  During a water emergency you should know how to call for emergency help, how to help someone in trouble in the water safely and how to perform CPR.

Tips for water safety:

  • Know your limitations including medical conditions and physical fitness.
  • Never swim alone.  Swim with lifeguards, friends and water watchers present.
  • Swimming and alcohol do not mix.
  • Understand and adjust for unique risks of the water environment you are in, such as:
    • River and ocean currents
    • Water temperature
    • Underwater hazards such as vegetation, rocks, animals and submerged trees
  • Children, inexperienced swimmers and all boaters should wear U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets.
  • If you encounter someone distressed in the water, the two acceptable methods for untrained rescuers to remove that person from the water is to REACH out for them or THROW aid to them.  If you are untrained, you should NEVER row or swim out to the victim.  Many untrained people have drowned by entering the water to rescue a drowning victim.
  • It takes just a few inches of running water to sweep away a vehicle.  Do not walk, swim or drive through floodwater.  Remember to TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN!
  • Heavy rains miles upstream can cause rivers to rise rapidly without warning.  Be aware of weather conditions in your area to avoid being trapped or injured on the river.

Heavy rains and flooding are a special risk and additional precaution should be taken.  You should be aware of flood prone areas and avoid them during heavy rains.  When driving “Turn Around, Don’t Drown”.  This is also true when on foot.  DO NOT walk out into floodwaters or areas where you can become trapped with no escape back to safety.  Heavy rains can wash out manhole covers and storm grates allowing you to fall into the hole created.  Please DO NOT play or drive in floodwater!

Take a lesson at one of the pools around the High Country and follow these tips to enjoy water activities safely this summer!

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