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Mar 26, 2015

Healthy Living Looks at Water Safety Tips for the Holidays

After this Friday, the Easter break officially commences for the children. Adults, however, have to wait another week before the highly anticipated four day weekend. If you are like most Belizeans, your Easter plans are sure to include some fun times near the water – be it a beach, a river, a lagoon or a pool. So, before the vacation spirit takes over, we have put together a few water safety tips for you and your family in tonight’s Healthy Living.

 

Marleni Cuellar
“For most children, and adults too, the Easter vacation can’t get here fast enough. Traditionally, the extended weekend is a time where Belizeans from all over the country descend on their nearest watering hole. But of course, if you want to protect your family, there are certain considerations that you have to make once your child will be entering water. So I am here at the Y.W.C.A. Pool to find out what you can do to keep yourself and your family safe this Easter.”

Joevannie Collins, Senior Lifeguard & Instructor, Y.W.C.A.
“ We live in a paradise where we are surrounded by water, so learning to swim is something that we should know.”

 

Joevannie Collins

Joevannie Collins is the Summer Program Coordinator at the Y.W.C.A. Belize. She’s also one of their senior lifeguards and instructor. The Y is known for many of its community programs and its centralized pool. The pool, however, is for more than just recreation; it is also a way for them to promote water safety.

Joevannie Collins

“We offer programs running throughout the year specifically in the pool area. We have private lessons, whereby you can come into the office, you choose a period in which you want to learn to swim and we cater for you and we cater for your time and we work with you for those eight weeks. We have our Fiona Stevenson Learn to Swim Program which is being sponsored by the Fiona Stevenson Foundation. What we are doing today is actually teaching kids from vast amount of schools in Belize City area to learn to swim in order for us to alleviate the drowning rates in Belize City.”

 

Every June, the Y.W.C.A. trains new lifeguards through their certified programs. They encourage the public to hire lifeguards whenever group swimming activities are planned. It’s obviously too late to be trained swimmer or lifeguard by Easter, so Joevannie explains some basic water safety tips.

 

Joevannie Collins

“First off don’t enter any body of water that you don’t know of. So for instance if you are at the cayes visiting, you haven’t been there before, ask a local resident about the depths of the water because naturally we don’t know the depth so maybe somebody around could advise you to swim there for not to swim there. Also we encourage people to reduce heat exhaustion. We advise you to drink plenty fluids, keep hydrated and also use your sun screens to prevent burns and all that stuff. So when traveling in a vessel, we advise persons to use the life jackets; it is there for your safety and it should be offered to your for free. So use it wisely; an emergency can happen in any period, at any moment in time. Whenever you’re in a body of water that has current and you tend to fall into a current, we ask you to swim parallel to that current until you are out and then swim back to shore. So whenever you are caught in a current, don’t get all excited. Just stop, know how the water is flowing and swim with the water until you are out of that current and find your way back safely to shore. If you’re not trained in rescuing persons in water, I advise you to simply yell for someone that can; at the same time, dialing 911 to actually secure that person’s life. If you see someone drowning and you don’t have any experience in rescuing somebody you can engage yourself in drowning as well.”

Take precaution when entering the water, and do not dive into water you do not know. Pool Manager at the Y.W.C.A., Andre Godoy, explains why.

Andre Godoy

Andre Godoy, Pool Manager & Head Lifeguard, Y.W.C.A.

“Don’t jump in head first. Why? Because you have rocks in pool or the river or the sea, you have sticks or trees from limbs and you jump in head first, you can get hurt by knocking your head or something.  So never jump in head first. When entering the water, the deep end, or shallow end, or sea or river, make sure you always go in foot first. Never jump in the water.  If you are in a pool and you can see the bottom or you can swim. (jumps foot first in water)

 

The final and most urgent safety tip from the lifeguards is to monitor alcohol consumption and ensure the supervision of the children.
Joevannie Collins

“We tend to consume alcohol real heavily and whosoever are adults, you can drink, but if you have kids, please just supervise your children. If you plan to drink, have someone that is another adult to do so because alcohol impairs balance, visual sight and it also impairs judgment. So when you are under the influence of alcohol, things that you know is normal may not seem so. So try to limit the level of alcohol and be visually alert.”

 

If you’re going to be in Belize City for the Easter break, the Y.W.C.A. pool is open every day from one to four in the afternoon. You can also contact the office at 203-4971 for private swimming lessons or lifeguard training. 

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1 Response for “Healthy Living Looks at Water Safety Tips for the Holidays”

  1. YWCA PR Department says:

    Kudos to YWCA. This organization is making a difference in our community. Huge Big-up to Joevannie and Andre for their hard work and dedication to the work of the YWCA.

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