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To the Editor:
With the recent area near drownings and crowds flocking to area pools and lakes in Carroll, Harrison and Tuscarawas counties, we must remember to keep individuals safe in and around the water.  According to the Center of Disease Control drowning is the second leading cause of death from unintentional injuries for youth ages 5 to 24.

In an effort to save lives, the American Red Cross recommends the following tips:

* Learn to swim. The best thing anyone can do to stay safe is to learn to swim.  Always swim with a buddy; never swim alone.  Enroll in a swim course and swim in supervised areas only.

* Obey all rules and posted signs.

* Watch out for the “dangerous too’s”—too tired, too cold, too

    far from safety, too much sun, and too much strenuous activity.

* Don’t mix alcohol and swimming. Alcohol impairs your judgment,

    balance, and coordination, affects your swimming and diving skills and reduces your body’s ability to stay warm.

* Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Stop

    swimming at the first indication of bad weather.

* Know how to prevent, recognize and respond to emergencies.
  
Safety is the number one issue to stress.  Unless people receive proper water safety and swim lessons - pools, water parks and even bathtubs can be dangerous places.  

For more water safety or swim lesson information, contact the chapter at 330-343-8633 or e-mail info@mlcredcross.org or visit www.mlcredcross.org.

Chad Conrad
Director, Muskingum Lakes Chapter
American Red Cross 

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