As summer is quickly approaching, Jamie Hennessee, an ambulance manager, CCMH ambulance, said people need to take steps to make sure that they, along with their families, are safe while spending time outdoors, whether it’s at the pool or hiking.
Every year, around 3,500 to 4,000 people in the United States drown. That’s an average of 10 fatal drownings each day. It’s also the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 4, according to stopdrowningnow.org.
“It never gets easy running a call when you’re called to a drowning incident,” Hennessee said. “It breaks your heart and those of everybody around you. It’s a preventable situation, so the more that we can prevent, the better.”
Hennessee said there are things people can do to make pool time safer, such as promoting pool safety and never leave kids alone at the pool.
“Try to encourage your children to learn how to swim,” she said. “And be out there with them, participate in the sport with them.”
Hennessee said if you’re headed to the lake, you should always wear a life jacket while on a boat, jet ski, tube, or skis.
“These things are important,” Hennessee said. “Make sure that you go when the temperature is warm enough to actually be out there and have people with you. Try not to do these things alone so that perhaps somebody there with you can call for help or help you as well.”
Hennessee said during the summer months, they see a large increase in calls for heat exhaustion or other heat-related issues such as dizziness, dehydration, or fainting.
“It takes a little bit to recuperate from one of these events,” she said. “There’s not much difference between a heat stroke and heat exhaustion, so it’s really important to maintain adequate hydration.”
She also has this message for those who plan on hiking at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge this summer.
“Maintain adequate hydration,” she said. “Make sure you take plenty of water with you and pace yourself. Don’t tell yourself you have to get to the top of the mountain, just pace yourself and enjoy the journey.”
Hennessee said if you find yourself dehydrated this summer, find a cool place to sit down and take slow sips of water. She says you should also call a trusted friend, family member, or 911 for help.