Reducing the risk of drowning this summer

A lifeguard watches swimmers at Kingston Community Pool on Memorial Day 2018

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to Summer and a time when many community pools officially open.

Swimming is a fun way to beat the heat, but it is not without risk.

"I think it's real important to know how to swim especially when you're around water during the summer," lifeguard, Davis Weaver, said.

According to the CDC, nearly 4,000 people drown each year in the U.S. Children and young adults have the highest risk of drowning. That is why lifeguards say pool safety education is important no matter how old you are.

Weaver, who works The Kingston Community Pool says he's had to save on average 5 to 10 people each summer over the last four years. He added that it's not always easy to tell when someone is drowning because the signs are not always as dramatic as in the movies.

You can tell if a person is at risk of drowning when they seem fatigued, they're swimming slowly, or their head is bobbing in and out of the water.

Weaver says horseplay and overexertion are big factors that can go into drowning.

If someone you know appears to be drowning and there is no lifeguard around, you may have to jump in and make the save. You should do so if you are comfortable swimming. Weaver's advice is to try and hold the person up if you know how to tread water or try to get them to the edge of the pool to hold onto something.

If you think you are at risk of drowning, don't panic. Weaver says the biggest thing you can do is to remain calm while kicking your arms and legs, trying to keep your head above water. You can also try to lie flat on your back in an attempt to float.

Experts believe the best way to reduce risk is taking swim lessons at an early age. Many community pools offer lessons.

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