(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s (MDFR) Ocean Rescue wants residents to be water warriors this Independence Day. July 4th is a time when tourists and locals head out on the open seas, flock to the beach, and enjoy taking a dip in the pool. MDFR lifeguards will be giving out water safety tips on Monday, July 2, 2012 in time for the holiday celebrations.
“Drowning is the number one cause of death for children under the age of five in Miami-Dade County,” said Fire Chief William W. Bryson. “These cases are more tragic due to the fact that they are preventable when proper adult supervision and water safety measures are in place. MDFR is committed to drowning prevention awareness in the hopes of saving lives.”
In order to ensure a safe holiday, remember the following guidelines:
• Always think of your pool as a potentially dangerous place.
• Never assume that swimming lessons or flotation devices can completely protect a child from drowning. Don’t have a false sense of security!
• Have your family members learn CPR. Drowning victims have a better chance of surviving if they get assistance right away.
• Never leave children unattended. Drowning incidents in residential swimming pools are significantly higher involving children between the ages of one and four.
• Swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard.
• Read and obey all rules and posted signs.
• If you are going out on a boat, wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). One wearable PFD for each person aboard is required; and they should be stowed where readily available. United States Coast Guard statistics indicate that on average, over 600 people drown annually in boating accidents. About 88 percent could have survived if they had worn a PFD.
• Avoid swimming in beaches when rip current advisories are in effect. On all Florida beaches, a red flag warns of strong current and surf conditions, while a yellow flag indicates moderate conditions. A green flag means the surf is calm.
• Swim only at guarded beaches during lifeguard duty hours, and ask them about surf conditions before entering the water.
• Never swim alone. The buddy system works! Keep an extra careful watch on children and elderly swimmers.
• If you see someone in trouble, get help from a lifeguard or call 9-1-1.
A drowning can occur at any time in a split second. In Miami-Dade County, the majority of drownings occur between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Within this time range, the peak hours tend to be in the late afternoon from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. The majority of drownings occur in May, June, July, and August.
Driving Directions: Enter Crandon Park through the South Beach Parking Lot entrance. Follow the road all the way to the end. At the stop sign make a left and proceed slowly towards the cabanas and concession stand. The lifeguard headquarters is located behind the blue and white building south of the cabanas. For more information, please contact MDFR’s Public Affairs Bureau at (786) 331-5200.