Water safety tips to keep in mind when heading to the beach or pool

Knowing what to do during an emergency is critical when spending time at the pool or beach.
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 10:01 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - With pools preparing to open and many families heading to the beach, health experts say it’s a great time to make sure your water safety knowledge is up to date.

Southeastern North Carolina is known for its beautiful beaches, but a fun day at the beach can become dangerous, and potentially deadly if you’re not aware of the hazards.

The ocean can be unpredictable, so knowing what to do during an emergency is critical.

First, timeliness is key, especially in the moments before EMS arrives. If someone were to go under the water, getting them to shore quickly is essential. If they are not breathing, lay them flat on their back, open their airway and perform CPR or find someone who can.

CPR may not be needed in every situation, but being prepared to perform it could save a life.

“Always have that plan, always have that backup plan when you’re out there with your family at a pool or the beach. Know your surroundings. This is where the lifeguard stands are, this is my floatation device, the AEDs are here, this is what we’re going to do to call 911 if it would happen,” said Aaron Kasulis, EMS manager for Novant Health.

The best plan is to be familiar with your beach communities and local pools. For example, make sure to know which beaches have lifeguards and which beaches have stations with life preservers.

While most of our beaches have lifeguards, other public places may have boards or flotation devices nearby. Oak Island just reinstalled its rescue devices on the beach last week.

When it comes to the pool, the little ones are often the most at risk.

When someone is drowning, a common misconception is that they’re likely splashing and making a lot of noise. Drowning, however, is typically quiet as the person is trying to catch their breath.

According to the CDC, more children between the ages of one to four die from drowning than any other cause of death. It’s estimated that there are eleven drowning deaths per day.

If you have a pool at home, you can help prevent this with one simple act: always check your pool if someone is missing.

“If you can’t find your child, the first place you need to go to is your personal pool. Don’t look under the bed, don’t go to the closet, go straight to the pool. Unfortunately, this has occurred before where there’s a lost child and they’re looking everywhere else except for the backyard pool,” said Kasulis.

There are pool alarms that emit a loud sound if there’s movement in the water, a suggested purchase if you have a personal pool and small children.