EMSA Urges Vigilance at Pools and Lakes as Drownings Rise

KTUL-Tulsa - July 8, 2024 6:09 am

Pools and lakes present the perfect destination during summer holiday weekends, but EMSA says to be vigilant.

Sadly, this week we’ve already reported on several drownings before the weekend even started.

“Last year they had 14 calls,” said Russell Friske, the Paramedic Instructor for EMSA on the Eastern Division. “The biggest safety tip is vigilance, being mindful.”

Friske says when you go to a pool or lake, to have an adult watching the kids at all times.

He says that at public pools where there’s a lifeguard, parents tend to relax, thinking their kids are safe.

“The problem is, is that one lifeguard or two can’t always watch every single person in that pool at all times,” said Friske.

He says there’s a lot of misconceptions about what drowning looks like.

“We perceive it to be loud,” said Friske.

Friske says the misconception is that you will hear someone struggling.

He says that typically these drowning events are not loud.

“It’s silent,” said Friske.

He says a lot of these drownings start with someone opening their mouth to take a breath while under water.

“And water rushes in,” said Friske.

He says that when water rushes into their mouths, their airway shuts.

“They can’t get any noise out to say, hey, I need help,” said Friske.

He says that closing of the airway doesn’t last long.

“It’ll open back up and that water will rush into the lungs,” said Friske.

Friske says that when the water rushed into the lungs, there’s no gas exchange for oxygen making them unable to breathe.

He says the biggest thing for parents or caretakers to look out for is stillness of a child.

“Typically in pools, that’s abnormal,” said Friske.

He says if you see stillness of a child and they’re not being active, that’s the warning sign that they could be drowning and to get them out as soon as possible.


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