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Emergency responders urge water safety

July 16th, 2013 by Chris Henry

South Kitsap Fire & Rescue emergency responders took advantage of warm weather Monday to practice water rescue on Long Lake.

The training was led by Firefighter Ed Seibolda certified Rapid Entry Rescue Swimmer. Crews practiced donning ice rescue suits and launching rapid deployment craft. The inflatable craft serve multiple purposes including rescue operations on Puget Sound (such as responding to a submerged vehicle), lake response, swift water or ice rescue situations.
Rescue
“Having versatile and modular tools such as the rescue suits and RDC allows our crews the ability to gain rapid entry with minimal risk to the responders,” said SKFR spokesman Ron Powers

Crews competed for the best deployment time, which was about 2 minutes and 20 seconds, Powers said.

SKFR reminds people to practice water safety. The American Red Cross recommends swimming with a buddy, and having children and inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. But but do not rely on life jackets alone, safety experts advise.

Life jacket loaner boards are located at Long Lake and Horseshoe Lake County Parks during the summer months.

Here are other tips from the Red Cross:
* Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
* Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses or classes at your local pool.
* Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child. Teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
* Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person’s ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings.
* Do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.
* Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
* If you go boating, wear a life jacket. Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
* Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and swimming skills, and it reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.

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