Tag Archives: swimming

Being Prepared for an Aquatic Emergency

Being Prepared for an Aquatic Emergency

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.

  1. Appropriate rescue equipment for a water emergency, such as a ring buoy, throw bag, heaving line, or reaching pole.
  2. Appropriate life jackets for every person that is in, on, or around the water.
  3. A first aid kit.
  4. A means of communication (such as a phone, cellular phone, or two-way radio).
  5. An emergency signaling device, such as an air horn, whistle, strobe light, signal mirror, flare, or chemical light stick.
  6. Extra clothing, blankets, and rain gear.

For more, read Basic Water Rescue, a booklet published by the American Red Cross.

Developing an Emergency Action Plan

Developing an Emergency Action Plan

Whenever going into the great outdoors with a troop, it’s important to develop an Emergency Action Plan, or EAP.  An effective EAP must be simple, easy to remember, and in writing.  Y0u should make an EAP clear for all girls, volunteers, and event staff to understand.  A EAP should include these general features:

  • How the person who recognizes the emergency is to signal others.
  • The steps each person should take in an emergency.
  • The location of rescue and safety equipment.
  • Actions to minimize the emergency and safely rescue any victims.
  • How to call for medical assistance when needed.
  • Follow up procedures for after the emergency.

All adults should be briefed in detail what to do in case of an emergency with the troop.  Depending on the age of the girls, you can brief them at the same time if they’re older and can understand the details, or you may choose to brief younger girls separately using language they can more easily understand.

When you put your EAP into writing, consider including any of the applicable following sections:

  • Layout of facility/environment.
    • EMS personnel access and entry/exit routes.
    • Location of rescue and first aid equipment.
    • Location of telephones, with emergency telephone numbers posted.
    • Location of keys for buildings or rooms with telephones or emergency equipment.
    • Exits and evacuation routes.
  • Equipment available.
    • Rescue equipment.
    • First aid supplies.
    • Emergency equipment, such as flashlights or fire extinguishers.
  • Support personnel available.
    • Internal.
      • Staff members.
      • Troop leaders.
      • Volunteers.
      • Clerical personnel.
      • Maintenance personnel.
    • External.
      • EMS personnel.
      • Police officers.
      • Fire fighters.
      • Hazardous materials (HazMat) team.
      • Poison control center.
      • Hospitals.
      • Power and gas companies.
      • Health department.
      • Search and rescue team.
  • Staff responsibilities.
    • Assign each adult a duty:
      • Provide care.
      • Control bystanders and troop.
      • Meet EMS personnel.
      • Interview witnesses.
  • Communications.
    • How and when to call 9-1-1 (or other local emergency number), and who will make the call.
    • Chain of command.
    • Personal to contact family/parents.
    • Person to deal with media.
  • Follow up.
    • This includes items such as EAP documentation and evaluation.

Clearly, some of these sections do not need to be included for a day trip to a public, controlled area (such as a pool or water park).  They should all be included when taking an extended trip or a trip to a more remote area, like a day hike or weekend long camping trip.

For more, read Basic Water Rescue, a booklet published by the American Red Cross.

First Aid Kit for Aquatic Activities

First Aid Kit for Aquatic Activities

Spring and Summer are coming soon, which means all sorts of swimming, boating, and other water-based activities to cool down under the hot sun.  It’s important that every troop have a water safety kit (or two!) with them when playing in, on, or around the water.  This does vary a bit from a traditional first aid kit with some specific items.  For girls of all ages, this can be turned into a fun meeting activity in preparation for a water-based outing in building their own mini kits or assisting in putting together the main troop kits.

To put together smaller, personal water safety kits, buy large packages for the contents in the kit.  Portion out any liquids in smaller, travel size containers.

Case

  • Durable in extreme hot and cold
  • Waterproof
  • Sized for personal or group needs.

Contents

Include the following additional items in delayed-help environments

For more, read Basic Water Rescue, a booklet published by the American Red Cross.

Water Safety Guidelines

Water Safety Guidelines

I’ve been meaning to post more first aid tips for troops.  These first aid tops are helpful for outings and to teach the girls.  Older girls can practice some of these techniques to learn.

Everyone should follow safe procedures when in, on, or around the water.  The following are general water safety guidelines.  All aged girls should review these guidelines before any water activities, even swimming.

  • Learn to swim.  Learn boating, general first aid, and CPR skills.  Contact your local Red Cross for information about swimming, first aid, and CPR courses.
  • Check with your local Red Cross, the U.S. Coast Guard, state boating officials, and other organizations about boating courses.  Take a course before engaging in any new activities on the water.
  • Know what to do in case of a water emergency.
  • Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when around water or when boating.
  • Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts.
  • Know how to prevent accidents, recognize hazards, and care for injuries.

For more, read Basic Water Rescue, a booklet published by the American Red Cross.