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American Red Cross urges water safety

With warmer weather upon us, everyone is thinking of how to stay cool. If you're like most people, when the temperature starts to soar, you think about heading to the coolest place in town, the pool or the beach. But before you go, the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross wants to remind you that a cool dip could leave you in hot water if you don't practice water safety.
"We are all looking forward to a lot of fun with our family and friends this summer," said Don May, Director of Health and Safety Programs. "We just have to remember it's not fun if it's not safe. With a little planning and a few safety rules, we can all beat the heat and enjoy ourselves at the same time."
Remember these simple tips for a safe and fun experience while cooling down in the water:
Learn to swim and swim well. Contact the Pioneer Valley Chapter for information on learning how to swim.
Never swim alone. Use a buddy system when you're swimming with friends to be sure everyone is always accounted for it only takes a split second to lose sight of a friend and for tragedy to occur.
Never leave small children unattended near water not even the bathtub not even for a moment!
Keep lifesaving gear handy. Always have on hand a lifejacket, rope, pole or other object that can be thrown to a person in trouble. Remember to have a first aid kit, cordless phone and emergency contact information by the pool.
Know when it's too dangerous. If you, or someone you are swimming with, appear to be too cold, too far from safety, been exposed to too much sun, or had too much strenuous activity, it is time to head for shore or signal for help.
Eliminate temptation. Backyard pools should have self-closing, self-latching gates that remain locked. Kiddie pools should be emptied and toys removed immediately after use.
Alcohol and water doesn't mix. Never drink alcohol while swimming or boating.
For more information, contact the Pioneer Valley Chapter at 737-4306 ext. 1915 or log on to www.redcrosspioneervalley.org.


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