Summer is winding down and this is a good opportunity for IAFF members to raise awareness for drowning prevention and safety in their communities. The month of August is Drowning Impact Awareness Month (DIAM).

The goal of DIAM is to bring increased attention to drowning that will save lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2005-2009, there were an average of 3,533 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about 10 deaths per day.

Here are some tips to share with your community to help keep your friends and families safe.

Know the Water

Did you know that cold water can kill? Many lakes and rivers are cold enough to cause hypothermia, even in summer.

•    Never dive or jump into unfamiliar or shallow water.
•    Avoid swimming or boating in high running water.
•    Check how cold or fast the water is running before you jump in.
•    Swim near the shoreline when in large bodies of water.

Be Cautious

It is easy to misjudge the water or your skills. Be cautious and take all the necessary steps to make sure your swim won’t be your last.

•    Wear a life jacket even if you can swim.
•    Never use alcohol or drugs while swimming, diving, or in a boat.
•    Learn CPR.
•    If you are tired, rest and stay out of the water.
•    Surround your pool or hot tub with a fence and keep it locked.
•    Never let your children swim unsupervised.
•    The safest places to swim are those with lifeguards on duty.
•    Never swim when thunder or lightning is present.