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In summer the water beckons, but beware, danger can lurk

By Greg Mellen, Behind The Badge

The summer heat is here! Which means the pools are open, visits and plans to vacation at the beaches are booked, lakes and rivers are on the upswing, and many people are dreaming of aquatic adventure.


However, for all the pleasures that water can provide, swimming, wading, and cavorting in the water are not to be taken lightly. Swimming is a magical activity that can turn in an instant to disaster. Safety groups such as Ready OC advise that preparedness is the key.


Johnny Johnson, of Tustin, a water safety ambassador, swim teacher, and founder of the Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation, says, “People have to understand when there’s a body of water, whether it’s a five-gallon bucket or an ocean, there’s always risk.”


Water safety advocates note that a person can die silently in inches of water in less than a minute.


In July, National Drowning Prevention Week is held and recognized throughout Orange County with events at pools and aquatic centers.


Each year in the U.S., it is estimated that roughly about 10 people per day, up to 3,400-4,000, die from drowning, and many thousands more are treated in Emergency Rooms for near-drowning injuries.


Part of the problem in the aquatics world is that numbers are hard to come by. There is no central, reliable database to track drownings. Furthermore, no standard exists for attributing deaths to drowning.


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