Staying safe in the water

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Due to the recent drownings in our area, an increase in the knowledge of how to handle high pressured situation in the water is very important.  We spoke to officials at The City of Lake Charles, the American Red Cross of SWLA and swim school Swimsational of Sulphur for their tips on how to better prepare the public.

Beki Derise, Director of Health and Safety with the American Red Cross SWLA says "it is definitely a state of shock and a sad situation that our beaches do not have the lifeguards out there". She does stress that learning CPR is crucial not just for lifeguards but for the general public. Her office offers classes in learning how to swim, CPR training and certification for lifeguards.

Helen Lewis Dunn, Assistant Director Recreation and Parks with City of Lake Charles says the city provides warning signs posted all over the beach.  Dunn went on to say that although she is personally sensitive to the family and victims of the recent incident, that swimmers do swim at their own risk.

Judi McIntosh, President of Swimsational Swim School in Sulphur reminds us that if we cannot see the bottom of the swim area nor see our feet, we do not know what lies ahead. That not knowing could mean glass, rocks, a depression, drop off, etc... in other words, danger.

May is National Water Safety Awareness month. The purpose of the month is to let folks know that just knowing how to swim is not enough. One must have multiple layers of protection and always remember that while water can be fun, if not treated correctly - grave situations may occur.

Swimsational's Video tips to KPLC:

-Never go in and rescue a victim. We want you to throw something to them, extend something to them, keep your distance between you and the victim, pull them to safety and then step back.

-Reach and assist rescue can be performed by children 5 and up. They need to stay on the deck with their bodies laying flat on their tummies.  Only slide to the edge ...up to their shoulders (see video for better illustration). This method works best if someone just slipped off the step and they are right there and they just need a little help. The main purpose of this move is we do not want them (children nor adults) to lean over and try to rescue someone because that child/adult will tip over and may become a victim themselves.

Swimming Classes with Lifeguards on duty

The American Red Cross: last week in June for water safety- call 337-478-5122.

The City of Lake Charles: 2nd Avenue Pool and University Pool, Monday-Friday Cost $1/day. For more information call 337-491-1280.

And to contact Judi McIntosh at Swimsational Swim School in Sulphur, log on to their website.