As mid-Missourians plan to get out of town for Memorial Day weekend, the Red Cross wants people to keep water safety in mind.
With summer around the corner, lifeguards are training for a summer at the pool.
"They are trained as professional rescuers and they can respond to it. They know what to do. The skills are useful in any aquatic situation, and their skills are good in any emergency," lifeguard instructor Walker Thomas said.
But a Red Cross survey found that 63 percent of families with children will be swimming in an area without a lifeguard this summer.
Fifty percent of those surveyed said they had never taken swimming lessons.
In mid-Missouri, people look to the Lake of the Ozarks and the Missouri River to cool off, but before doing so they should make sure they're prepred to act in the event of an emergency.
"It's very important that parents, guardians, people who are in groups whether you're partying or just a group of friends or family, that at least someone is aware of water rescue skills," Red Cross logistics specialist Evie White said.
White also said it's important to be able to recognize the signs of a distressed swimmer.
Those signs include:
- Treading water and waving an arm
- Doggie paddling without any forward progress
- Hanging onto a safety line
- Positioned vertically in water but not kicking their legs
- Underwater for more than 30 seconds
- Floating at the surface, face down, for more than 30 seconds.
Of course, water activities can be an enjoyable time, White just wants to make sure everyone follows some simple advice.
"If you're going to be drinking, have one person who's not. For little children, elderly, wear PFD's, at least have a seat cushion available or something that you can throw or carry with you into the water if you're going to be going into the water and swimming," she said.
For more information on the water safety programs you can visit the Red Cross website.