Safety on the water

A vacation time is often being associated with a stay by the sea, lakes, rivers. Water – even seemingly calm – may be dangerous. Most drownings are the result of people’s recklessness and disregard for the regulations, and above all, swimming in unguarded places. Several hundred people die every year in Poland as a result of drowning. As you’re planning your holiday by the water, read the following advices and tips, which will allow you to avoid unnecessary tragedy and spend your holiday and leisure time safely. Get to know the typical weather conditions for your region and try to avoid storms on the water. Water is conductive – as soon as you hear signs of an impending storm, don’t enter the water.

Stay safe by the water:

• Always check water and weather conditions before swimming
• Swim only in marked and guarded by WOPR rescuers or Water Police officers’ places
• Don’t swim in clays, ponds, on gravel pits – they can be very polluted, overgrown and deep. In case of danger nobody will hear you
• Don’t swim alone
• Read all instructions and information on swimming conditions and follow the signs placed nearby the water reservoirs
• Don’t dive in the water (and don’t jump on your head!) if you’re not familiar with its’ depth
• Don’t swim after drinking alcohol or taking drugs
• Follow the current, don’t try to swim against it
• Don’t throw or push into the water friends standing on a platform
• Initially, find out where the rescue and first aid station is located
• Don’t swim on a mattress far from the shore
• If you’re going to swim in the pool, make sure you’re being watched by someone who can swim well
• Don’t enter the water after prolonged sunbathing. Firstly, cool down the body
• Don’t set off false alarms
• Don’t go into the water just after eating a meal
• In case of danger, call for help
• Don’t disturb others in the water. A safe swim depends on you!
• Watch out for others – someone may need your help
• Once you noticed a sinking or any accident over the water, call for help immediately – notify the WOPR lifeguard
• Never leave children unattended

Stay safe on the water:

• Put the life-saving jacket while being on a boat, kayak or water bicycle
• Before you start your journey, familiarize thoroughly with the boat, engine and its equipment. Pay attention to the current weather and the forecasts announcements
• Before departure, choose the boat’s helmsman, it’s best to choose the most experienced person. This is very important, especially in dangerous situations
• Make sure that other people, ashore, know where you’re going to and how long you will it take
• The crew should sit evenly on both sides of the boat
• Move slowly and carefully in unfamiliar water. Make sure that there’s a sufficient depth of water to prevent the boat or engine damage
• Never get into the boat after drinking
• Observe traffic rules and speed, pay attention to other waterway users
• If the weather deteriorates or other hazards occur, head for the nearest port

Save the drowning:

If you noticed a drowning person, remember that you’re the rescuers’ arrival.
Save the drowning:
• Consider the situation
• Call for help – ask witnesses for help, call an emergency number: WOPR (WOPR number is 601 100 100) or 112
• Choose the safest way to rescue the victim by pulling him out:
o using the lifebelt
o with a rope
o from the boat
o from the platform by giving a hand or a long object to the drowning person
o you can swim and tow the sinking person to shore
• Under no circumstances let the sinking person breathe in water. Move him out of the water as soon as possible and, if he loses consciousness and breathing, give him a first artificial breath while getting on the surface. If it’s necessary to tow him to the shore, repeat this procedure several times on shallow water
• After bringing the sinking person to the shore and before starting to recover, don’t use any treatment to remove water from the digestive tract and respiratory tract. It may cause a waste of precious time! Breathing doesn’t occur in the gastrointestinal tract
• Resuscitation (30 compressions / 2 breaths)
• Be mentally prepared for possible complications that may occur during the help. When you’re able to restore breathing and circulation, place the rescued person on his side, expecting vomiting at any time
• If the victim regained a consciousness, you may give him a well-sweetened tea with a lukewarm water. Don’t serve him an alcohol!
• Provide dry clothing and warm covering, for example: a thermal blanket

Hypothermia:
• Prevent further body’s temperature loss – take off wet clothes, wipe the skin, cover the victim with a warm blanket, clothes or a thermal foil
• Heat up the victim gradually (the victim shouldn’t be moved from a cold to hot room!) – the proper heating equals 0.5 degrees Celsius per hour
• Talk calmly and serenely – mental support and constant contact is very important
• Limit any movement of the injured person, as the cold blood from the limbs shouldn’t mix with the warm blood inside the rest of the body
• Don’t massage the cooled areas
• Provide help until the victim regains his full strength or until medical assistance arrives
• Don’t expose heated areas to further cooling
• Don’t pierce the blisters that have formed

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