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Swim Safety Urged For July 4th Weekend

Reported by: Send eMail Taisha Walker
Reported: Jul. 3, 2014 9:19 PM EDT
Updated: Jul. 3, 2014 9:56 PM EDT
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Swim Safety
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Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia

Swimming pools, rivers and lakes across the Kanawha Valley will be filled with people looking to cool off and relax this July 4th weekend.

Many Americans plan to spend Independence Day at or in the pool. So, if you're one of those people, be sure to pack some sunscreen and some patience, because it will be crowded.

"July 4th is usually the peak of the summer pool season, especially with all the outdoor pools," Rob Scott, with the YMCA, said.

Each swimming pool has its own set of rules, but swimming instructors say some things are just common sense.

“Keep in mind not to jump in on other people,” swim instructor Mary Morton said. “Be aware of swimming abilities - you don’t want to venture off into the deep end, if you do not know how to swim."

In other words, don't get in over your head, while in the water. According the American Red Cross, 80 percent of Americans say they can swim, but only 46 percent can actually perform the five basic water safety skills.

Step one: Step or jump into the water over your head.

Two: Return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute.

Three: Turn around in a full circle and find and exit.

Four: Swim 25 yards to the exit without stopping.

Five: Exit a pool without touching the ladder.

Experts say if you can do all five, your chance of drowning decreases dramatically.

"If somebody is having trouble in the water, the classic sign of someone in distress is that they will yell for help and they will be waving their arms in the air," Morton said.

If you prefer the openness of the lake or river, rather than a pool, swimming instructors suggest bringing a personal flotation device, because the currents can be unpredictable.

“We recommend always having a life jacket, even for the most experienced swimmers, you'll get out there with the currents and everything, the boats,” Scott said. “I'd wear a life jacket every time I got in to the lake or river.”

Instructors said feel free to jump in and cool off this July 4th, but do it safely.



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