It;s important to be prepared for an aquatic emergency. Being prepared means being ready before it happens. To be prepared for an emergency, you must first understand the aquatic environment and review general water safety guidelines. Always:
- Be aware of the conditions and potential hazards of the water environment, whether it’s a pool, lake, river, ocean, or other body of water. Know its unique conditions, as well as hazards common in your geographical area, such as storms, currents, and underwater obstructions.
- Understand the various recreational activities that are common in your area and their hazards. Consider the age and ability of participants in those activities.
- Learn what kind of accidents and injuries have occurred in your water environment. This knowledge will help you prevent further injuries and prepare for similar aquatic emergencies.
You also need to have the right equipment on hand in case of a water emergency.
- Appropriate rescue equipment for a water emergency, such as a ring buoy, throw bag, heaving line, or reaching pole.
- Appropriate life jackets for every person that is in, on, or around the water.
- A first aid kit.
- A means of communication (such as a phone, cellular phone, or two-way radio).
- An emergency signaling device, such as an air horn, whistle, strobe light, signal mirror, flare, or chemical light stick.
- Extra clothing, blankets, and rain gear.
For more, read Basic Water Rescue, a booklet published by the American Red Cross.