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Posted 6/30/2016

Release no. 16-027


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Public Affairs Office
816-389-3486
816-389-3434 (fax)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in the United States. As recreationalists take to lakes and rivers during this long Independence Day weekend, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District encourages visitors to have fun, stay safe and make it home alive. While outdoor recreation is fun and healthy, we urge our visitors to think about these safety tips this holiday.

  • Wear a life jacket

    • A life jacket of the proper size and fit keeps you afloat and provides time for rescue.

    • Statistics find that 89 percent of people who drown at Corps-managed lakes might have survived if they had on a life jacket.

    • If you don’t own one, borrow one from a Corps life jacket loaner board.

  • Swim in a designated area

    • Look for the marked designated swim beach at Corps lakes, swim there and wear a life jacket.

    • Swimming in an undesignated area is more difficult than swimming in a pool because of waves, currents and underwater obstructions, causing a swimmer to tire more quickly and get into trouble.

    • Peer pressure causes people to go beyond their skill level potentially putting swimmers in a dangerous situation – reverse the risk by challenging your friends to wear a life jacket.

  • Know the signs of drowning

    • Drowning happens quickly and quietly – a victim’s head will be back, they will be gasping for air, they will not yell, and their arms will be slapping the water as though trying to climb out of the water.

    • “Reach, Throw, Don’t Go” – find trained emergency personnel, reach to the victim, throw something that floats, but do not go into the water. Entering the water increases your chance of drowning while decreasing the chance of rescue for the victim you intended to save.

    • Over the last five years, 33 percent of drownings happened within 10 feet of safety.

For more information on Corps recreation sites and activities, visit www.CorpsLakes.us.

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