The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Rave

June 21, 2013

Stay safe this summer

Twice in the last two weeks a quick response by emergency personnel saved the life of a youngster who nearly drowned in a public swimming pool.

They are reminders of several very important things: the incredible ability and willingness of Valley lifesavers, and the need for safety, education and vigilance regarding water safety.

The two incidents make for an eye-opening start to the summer, but can be teachable moments. As temperatures climb from now until August, more and more swimmers of all ages will be looking for relief.

The need for education regarding water safety is necessary because the statistics on drowning are overwhelming. According to the Center for Disease Control, roughly 10 people drown every day in the United States and two of those are children younger than 14. Perhaps most troubling, for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency care.

There will never be a full-proof plan. These are accidents and accidents happen. But steps can be taken, and should be taken, to prevent them.

Some solutions are simple and a matter of common sense. In boating accidents, half of all deaths could have possibly been prevented with the use of a life jacket.

Other solutions may take more time but create life skills that cannot be overstated, including learning how to swim and perform CPR.

Swim lessons are available year-round and for all ages. There is no such thing as getting a child in a pool at too young an age.

Learning life-saving techniques are also extraordinarily important. The quick-acting lifeguards and bystanders who saved the boy this week were able to resuscitate him with CPR. Seconds count in a situation like this, the difference between a good time and tragedy is often the blink of an eye.

Like swimming lessons, CPR instruction is available at numerous locations and at various times. It is another priceless skill to have, one you may only use once in a lifetime but will be well worth it when you do.

Lifeguards and first responders can't be at all places at all times, but citizens can fill these roles by being alert and learning the skills needed to save a life.

Let these two instances, which thankfully have happy endings, be reminders of what can quickly happen. Stay alert and follow the rules, no matter how much fun you are having. Stay safe this summer.

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