What Drowning Really Looks Like

You might think that, as you’re sitting by the pool with your kids you’ll hear them cry out if they are in danger of drowning. It takes only about 1 minute before submersion occurs so if you’re looking at your cell phone, reading a book or getting a tan, you probably aren’t watching well enough. Check out what a child drowning actually looks like:


How to escape a submerged car

How to Escape a Submerged Car

With recent flooding in our coverage area (Roswell, Las Vegas, Santa Rosa and others) and other states (Colorado, Texas and Florida) this has become a new concern. Any car accident is frightening, but an accident in which your vehicle is thrown into the water, with you trapped inside, is absolutely terrifying. Such accidents are particularly dangerous due to the risk of drowning and in the states, 10 percent of drowning deaths can be attributed to being submerged in a car and about 400 North Americans die from being submerged in a car every year.

However, most deaths are a result of panic, not having a plan and not understanding what is happening to the car in the water. By adopting a brace position to survive the impact, acting decisively when the car ends up in the water, and getting out fast, being trapped in a sinking vehicle is survivable, even if it’s a flooded river .A person has about a minute to get out alive


Here are rules of survival:

Rule 1. Don’t Call 911 until you’re out of the car. You’re going to need every second to get out of that vehicle. Worry about calling 911 once you’ve made it out alive, or, as in the case of the I-5 collapse in Washington state last year this saved lives, if your vehicle isn’t submerged. Time is critical, If you touch your cell phone you’re probably going to die.

Rule 2. Unbuckle.

Rule 3. Don’t open the door! Roll down the windows instead. Opening the door is very difficult against the water pressure and it also allows so much water into the vehicle that it will speed up the sinking process.

You’ll have 30 seconds to a minute until the water rises to the bottom of the passenger windows. This is what called the floating period. After that, the water pressure will force the window against the doorframe, making it essentially impossible to roll down.

Caveat to Rule 3: Break that window. Since most vehicles these days have electronically controlled windows, the circuits probably will short before you have a chance to roll them down. In that case, you’ll need a tool to break the window open.

Two of the most popular are the LifeHammer ($14.95), which has a hardened-steel point to help crack open the window, and the ResQMe keychain ($9.95), which uses a spring-loaded mechanism to shatter glass. If you plan on practicing with either one of these, take it from personal experience and wear work gloves. Otherwise you will cut your hands. Make sure these tools are within reach at all times, otherwise you’ll never get to them in time And they won’t work underwater. Again, you’ve got act quickly.

Rule 4. Children first. Everybody should go out their own window if possible, but the kids are going to have a harder time fighting through the rush of water, so push them out if you have to. Starting with the oldest kids and taking the youngest out in your arms.

Rule 5. Get out. Swim through the broken window as fast as possible.

If you’ve failed to get that window rolled down or broken, you’ll still have the slightest of chances to escape. Once water fills the car, the pressure will be equalized and you will be able to open the door. But to do this, you will also have to be expert at holding your breath in an extremely stressful situation. that unless you’re a modern-day Houdini, the odds are pretty slim.

Other tips:

  • Your clothing and heavy objects in your pockets can make you sink. Be mentally prepared to kick off your shoes and remove heavy outer clothing such as jackets if necessary. The less clothing you have on the easier swimming will be. Even your jeans or pants will weigh you down significantly.
  • You can also use the metal part of the head rest to break the windows.
  • Don’t bother turning your lights off. Turn them on if you are unable to escape or if the water is cloudy. The light’s electronics are usually waterproofed, and the lights themselves will help rescuers find your vehicle.
  • It can be difficult to direct other people in this situation. Be prepared and discuss the possibility before it happens. Focus on children first; adults will need to fend for themselves until the children have been helped, so don’t be distracted.
  • Keep the tools for escaping within the vehicle at all times. The emergency window breaking devices are available from safety stores.
  • If you ride regularly with people and drive by water, discuss what to do if the car goes into the water. Anticipation and planning are critical to surviving life threatening emergencies like this one. Teach all family members including children the S-C-W-O method:

S-SEAT BELT Remove seatbelt

C- CHILDREN-Free children first

W- WINDOW– Open window

O-OUT-Get out fast.

  • Under certain circumstances pressure may not equalize until the entire cabin is flooded. In this situation, either fight the current or wait until the car is fully submerged before making your escape.

Information from AAA, NSC , ABC, CBS and popular mechanics



Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau


Understanding the dangers of “Dry” and “Delayed” Drowning

Most of us understand the dangers of drowning. We make sure that our children are watched when they are swimming, make sure they learn to swim, protect infants from accidentally falling into pools and buckets of water, etc… What many of us don’t know is that there are two other forms of drowning that you need to protect against, namely “Delayed drowning” and “Dry drowning”.

The tragic death of a 10-year old boy in Goose Creek, South Carolina brought this into focus back in 2008. Unfortunately, the boys’ death was mistakenly called “dry drowning” instead of what it actually was, “delayed drowning”.

What is “delayed drowning”?

Delayed drowning occurs when water gets into the lungs. Even though the victim may appear fine for a while, the water in the lungs impedes lung function and essentially “drowns” the victim, usually within a couple of hours.

What is “dry drowning”?

Dry drowning, in contrast, occurs without the presence of water in the lungs. It is somewhat unclear how dry drowning occurs but it occurs in water, not hours later, as in the case of “delayed drowning”. It is believed that dry drowning can occur in one of two ways:

1. The shock of the cold water may cause the heart to stop. In this instance, the victim never inhales water into the lungs; he or she stops breathing because death has occurred so no water enters the lungs.
2. A sudden rush of water into the throat causes the air ways to shut to keep the water out of the lungs. Because the air way is shut, however, air can’t get in either and the victim asphyxiates.

However dry drowning occurs, it occurs in much the same situation as regular drowning so that many cases of dry drowning look like regular drowning.

Delayed drowning, however, is very different and not nearly as common. Another instance of delayed drowning in 2012 has media calling it “extremely rare”. Death, in these cases can happen anytime after inhaling the water for up to 48 hours. It is therefore extremely important to know what to look for and pay close attention to signs that may point to a problem.

Symptoms of potential delayed drowning:

1. Sudden weariness or tiredness.

2. disorientation or confusion

3. Unusual behavior

4. Coughing and/or difficulty breathing

5. Heaviness in the chest

The first 3 of these symptoms come from oxygen deprivation. Because the brain isn’t being supplied with the necessary oxygen, it gets tired, drowsy, confused, erratic or disorientated. The fourth and fifth symptoms are just a physical reaction to having water in the lungs.

The purpose of this post isn’t to have parents panic every time that a child coughs when he or she is in the pool. It’s pretty hard to spend a day at the beach or the pool without at least one episode of coughing. The important thing to remember is that the coughing is the child’s protective system doing what it is supposed to do; the lungs are expelling anything that isn’t supposed to be there and it works well.

If, however, the coughing is more severe and won’t stop or if there was a near drowning episode, it is advisable to take your child (or the adult) to the hospital to have him or her checked out properly. Make sure the attending physician understands the concern you may have concerning delayed drowning and have the person in question properly checked out. If there is water in the lungs they will be able to take care of the problem.

The SEAL : Wearable Swim Monitoring and Drowning Detection System

Let me say upfront that I have no vested interest in posting this. I am not affiliated with this company and didn’t even know about them until a few minutes ago when I got an email from Lena, part of the team dedicated to getting this product to market to save lives. Having said that, let me get right to it.

Graham Snyder, an emergency physician, tired of having to tell parents that their child had drowned; angered by these deaths and injuries that could have been avoided, has come up with a drowning detection system that he is trying to take to market. Rather than try to tell you about it myself I’ll let him and his team do it.

Check out the SEAL: Wearable Swim Monitoring and Drowning Detection System fundraising website. While you’re there, make a donation and let’s help bring this to market.



Safety Alert- Water Safety Awareness and Tips

June is now here, what better way to cool off is to take a dip in some cool water. Many of us will take a trip to the lake, beach, rivers, splash parks or swimming pool to help cool down this summer.

Here are just a few helpful summer water safety tips to make your water adventure more enjoyable.

General Water Safety Tips

  • Learn to swim. The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is to learn to swim. Always swim with a buddy; never swim alone. The American Red Cross has swimming courses for people of any age and swimming ability. To enroll in a swim course, contact your local Red Cross Chapter or contact me.
  • Swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard.
  • Read and obey all rules and posted signs.

  • Children or inexperienced swimmers should take precautions, such as wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device (PFD) when around the water.
  • Watch out for the dangerous toos too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.
  • Set water safety rules for the whole family based on swimming abilities (for example, inexperienced swimmers should stay in water less than chest deep).
  • Be knowledgeable of the water environment you are in and its potential hazards, such as deep and shallow areas, currents, depth changes, obstructions and where the entry and exit points are located. The more informed you are, the more aware you will be of hazards and safe practices.
  • Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.
  • Use a feet-first entry when entering the water.
  • Enter headfirst only when the area is clearly marked for diving and has no obstructions.
  • Do not mix alcohol with swimming, diving or boating. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance, and coordination, affects your swimming and diving skills, and reduces your body’s ability to stay warm.
  • Know how to prevent, recognize, and respond to emergencies.

Beach Safety

  • Protect your skin: Sunlight contains two kinds of UV rays — UVA increases the risk of skin cancer, skin aging, and other skin diseases. UVB causes sunburn and can lead to skin cancer. Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and wear a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least SPF15.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly and often even if you do not feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool.
    • Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. They can make you feel good briefly but make the heat’s effects on your body worse. This is especially true with beer, which dehydrates the body.
  • Watch for signs of heat stroke: Heat stroke is life-threatening. The person’s temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working.
    • The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly.
    • Signals of heat stroke include
      • Hot, red, and usually dry skin, but in some cases such as during athletic activity while wearing a helmet, the skin may be moist
      • Changes in consciousness
      • Rapid, weak pulse, and
      • Rapid, shallow breathing.
    • Call 9-1-1 or your local EMS number.
    • Move the person to a cooler place.
    • Quickly cool the body by wrapping wet sheets around the body and fan it. If you have ice packs or cold packs, place them on each of the victim’s wrists and ankles, in the armpits and on the neck to cool the large blood vessels.
    • Watch for signals of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear.
    • Keep the person lying down.
  • Wear eye protection
    • Sunglasses are like sunscreen for your eyes and protect against damage that can occur from UV rays.
    • Be sure to wear sunglasses with labels that indicate that they absorb at least 90 percent of UV sunlight.
  • Wear foot protection. Many times, people’s feet can get burned from the sand or cut from glass in the sand.

Boating Safety

  • Alcohol and boating don’t mix. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance, and coordination — over 50 percent of drowning result from boating incidents involving alcohol. For the same reasons it is dangerous to operate an automobile while under the influence of alcohol, people should not operate a boat while drinking alcohol.
  • Look for the label: Use Coast Guard-approved life jackets for yourself and your passengers when boating and fishing. Children 12 and under must wear a life jacket, it is New Mexico and Texas state law.
  • Develop a float plan. Anytime you go out in a boat, give a responsible person details about where you will be and how long you will be gone. This is important because if the boat is delayed because of an emergency, becomes lost, or encounters other problems, you want help to be able to reach you.
  • Watch the weather: Know local weather conditions and prepare for electrical storms. Watch local news programs. Stop boating as soon as you see or hear a storm.

Home Pools

  • Never leave a child unobserved around water. Your eyes must be on the child at all times. Adult supervision is recommended.
  • Install a phone by the pool or keep a cordless phone nearby so that you can call 9-1-1 in an emergency.
  • Enclose the pool completely with a self-locking, self-closing fence with vertical bars. Openings in the fence should be no more than four inches wide. The house should not be included as a part of the barrier.
    • The gate should be constructed so that it is self-latching and self-closing.
  • Never leave furniture near the fence that would enable a child to climb over the fence.
  • Always keep basic lifesaving equipment by the pool and know how to use it. Pole, rope, and personal flotation devices (PFDs) are recommended.
  • Keep toys away from the pool when it is not in use. Toys can attract young children into the pool.
  • Pool covers should always be completely removed prior to pool use.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool first. Go to the edge of the pool and scan the entire pool, bottom, and surface, as well as the surrounding pool area

Keeping Children Safe In, On, and Around the Water

  • Maintain constant supervision. Watch children around any water environment (pool, stream, lake, tub, toilet, bucket of water), no matter what skills your child has acquired and no matter how shallow the water. For younger children, practice “Reach Supervision” by staying within an arm’s length reach.
  • Don’t rely on substitutes. The use of flotation devices and inflatable toys cannot replace parental supervision. Such devices could suddenly shift position, lose air, or slip out from underneath, leaving the child in a dangerous situation.

Lakes and Rivers

  • Select a supervised area. Even good swimmers can have an unexpected medical emergency in the water. Never swim alone.
  • Select an area that is clean and well maintained. A clean bathhouse, clean restrooms, and a litter-free environment show the managements concern for your health and safety.
  • Select an area that has good water quality and safe natural conditions. Murky water, hidden underwater objects, unexpected drop-offs, and aquatic plant life are hazards. Water pollution can cause health problems for swimmers. Strong tides, big waves, and currents can turn an event that began as fun into a tragedy.
  • Make sure the water is deep enough before entering headfirst. Too many swimmers are seriously injured every year by entering headfirst into water that is too shallow. A feet first entry is much safer than diving.
  • Be sure rafts and docks are in good condition. A well-run open-water facility maintains its rafts and docks in good condition, with no loose boards or exposed nails. Never swim under a raft or dock. Always look before jumping off a dock or raft to be sure no one is in the way.
  • Avoid drainage ditches and arroyos. Drainage ditches and arroyos for water run-off are not good places for swimming or playing in the water. After heavy rains, they can quickly change into raging rivers that can easily take a human life. Even the strongest swimmers are no match for the power of the water. Fast water and debris in the current make ditches and arroyos very dangerous.

Ocean Safety

  • Stay within the designated swimming area, ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Beware of RIP currents they can pull you out to sea very quickly. If you become caught in a one, swim parallel to the shore until the pull stops and then swim back to shore.
  • Check the surf conditions before you enter the water. Check to see if a warning flag is up or check with a lifeguard for water conditions, beach conditions, or any potential hazards.
  • Stay away from piers, pilings, and diving platforms when in the water.
  • Keep a lookout for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants. Leave animals alone.
  • Make sure you always have enough energy to swim back to shore.
  • Dont try to swim against a current if caught in one. Swim gradually out of the current, by swimming across it.

Personal Watercraft (Jet Skis)

  • Operate your Personal Watercraft (PWC) with courtesy and common sense. Follow the traffic pattern of the waterway. Obey no-wake and speed zones.
  • Use extreme caution around swimmers and surfers. Run your PWC at a slow speed until the craft is away from shore, swimming areas, and docks. Avoid passing close to other boats and jumping wakes. This behavior is dangerous and often illegal.
  • Coast Guard-approved life jackets should be worn by the operator of the PWC as well as any riders.
  • Ride with a buddy. PWCs should always travel in groups of two or three. You never know when an emergency might occur.
  • Alcohol and operating a PWC doesnt mix. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance, and coordination. For the same reasons it is dangerous to operate an automobile, people should not operate a boat or PWC while drinking alcohol.

Surfing, Sail boarding and Windsurfing

  • Always wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Wear a wet suit in cold water to prevent hypothermia.
  • Take windsurfing lessons from a qualified instructor.
  • Never surf alone

Snorkeling, Skin and SCUBA Diving

  • Practice in shallow water.
  • Check the equipment carefully and know how it functions.
  • Learn how to clear water from the snorkel.
  • Learn how to put your mask back on when you tread water.
  • Be careful not to swim or be carried by a current too far from shore or the boat.
  • Receive instructions/take lessons from qualified divers before participating.
  • Get a medical examination and take a swim test before learning SCUBA diving.
  • Once certified, do not dive in rough or dangerous waters or in environments for which you are not trained. Ice, cave, and shipwreck diving require special training. One can easily get lost or trapped and run out of air.
  • Never dive or snorkel by yourself.

Tubing, Canoeing, Kayaking and Rafting

  • Always wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Do not overload the raft.
  • Do not go rafting after a heavy rain.
  • When rafting with a tour company, make sure the guides are qualified. Check with the local chamber of commerce for listings of accredited tour guides and companies.
  • Know local weather conditions. Make sure the water and weather conditions are safe. Because water conducts electricity, it is wise to stop swimming, boating, or any activities on the water as soon as you see or hear a storm. Also, heavy rains can make certain areas dangerous.

Water parks

  • Be sure the area is well supervised by lifeguards before you or others in your group enter the water.
  • Read all posted signs. Follow the rules and directions given by lifeguards. Ask questions if you are not sure about a correct procedure.
  • When you go from one attraction to another, note that the water depth may be different and that the attraction should be used in a different way.
  • Before you start down a water slide, get in the correct position — face up and feet first.
  • Some facilities provide life jackets at no charge. If you cannot swim, wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Check others in your group as well.

Water Skiing

  • Wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Be sure the boat and ski equipment are in good shape.
  • Always turn the boat motor completely off when you approach a fallen skier.
  • Watch the water ahead of you at all times.
  • Have an extra person aboard to watch and assist the skier.
  • Run parallel to shore and come in slowly when landing. Sit down if coming in too fast.
  • Use proper hand signals to signal boat operator.
  • Do not ski at night or in restricted areas.
  • Know local weather conditions. Make sure the water and weather conditions are safe .Because water conducts electricity, it is wise to stop swimming, boating or any activities on the water as soon as you see or hear a storm. Also, heavy rains can make certain areas dangerous.

Dont become a tragic accident this summer, make water fun and your friend by using these safety tips. Safety First, Safety Always!

Information provided by the ASSE, CDC, NSC and American Red Cross

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald

Safety and Security Manager for Plateau