Drowning for Real!

Drowning for Real!

ILLUST-DROWNING NOAs we approach the season where we can start enjoying a comfortable day out on the water, it’s a good time to refresh ones self on the hazard of drowning.  What to look for might be quite different from what you expect to see, especially as depicted in so many Hollywood movies. 

The process of drowning is typically quiet and subdued. No arms waving frantically overhead or body thrashing wildly, no screaming or yelling. A drowning victim typically cannot scream or yell as their body is in survival mode. They will be gasping for air, their mouths right at the surface and their heads possibly tilted way back. Their arms will be pushing down onto the water for support.

Don’t let loud, boisterous splashing detract you from the lone, passive, immobile swimmer – she/he might be your drowning  victim.

Like most dangers, the best safeguards against drowning is prevention – with barriers to control access to water (fences around pools, restricted swimming areas, etc.) and to have rescue devices (life ring buoys and rope) handy. Always make wearing a life jacket/PFD an on-water requirement, too.

If you need to personally rescue someone, try to get some form of floatation (seatPRAIRIE NOTEBOOK19-DROWNING FLOTATION
cushions, even a small, empty ice cooler) to them. Keep it between you  and the victim as they will attempt to crawl up anything that’s near.  Professionals are trained to deal with clinging victims, but as a novice rescuer, you could be pulled under as they try to climb up on top of you.

Another good way to help create a safe swimming environment, especially with kids, is to have a buddy system. Have kids pair up, count off in two’s and assign them that number. Use a whistle to  announce a “Buddy Check” drill and have each kid yell out their numbers. It helps them watch out for each other.

I highly recommend the life jackets and PFDs designed and made by the safety conscious pros at MTI Life Jackets. Quality material designed for utility and style. Check them out at www.mtilifejackets.com

2 Comments on “Drowning for Real!

  1. Hey Tom, I know you wrote a column in the Appleton Press a year or two ago regarding what type of spray insecticide the city was spraying mosquitoes with. Do you recall when that was? I have a bit of an issue…..we planted a bunch of pollinating plants in our yard, pollinators have responded, including 2 to 4 dozen monarchs at any one time. Yesterday we had butterflies everywhere, this morning there are zero, except a few dead ones or half dead ones flapping around. Same thing happened about 10 days ago when they sprayed last. I did request they not spray adjacent to our yard, they did not heed my request. Not sure what options I have, might have to get rid of all the pollinator plants if I am just sending them to their deaths. Not a fan of mosquito spray. Dan Enke


    • Found the article, here’s the section about the city spray: Appleton uses a product called “Duet”, as does Ortonville I believe. Monte’ uses a product called “Control 44” according to someone in the street department. They are an ‘adulticide’ – a pesticide that kills full-grown adult mosquitos and other insect critters on contact – no skeeters, no bites; no bites, no itch; no itch – no problem (especially with diseases carried by some mosquitos)!
      Applied as part of a fine mist or fog, it’s localized and effective for about five minutes. If you’re a mosquito, you have to come into contact with the killer cloud for it to work. It dissipates quickly and doesn’t leave a lasting residue. And, yes, it could kill any bees that come in contact with it. ‘Duet’ containa Sumithrin which in itself is “extremely toxic to bees, aquatic life, and poisonous to cats and dogs.”
      But hold on…the application is designed to be sprayed after dark – not dusk or twilight, but dark. Bees are not active then and the thinking is that they are therefore safe – and they pretty much are. It doesn’t linger, it breaks down fast – and safely.


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