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Staying safe in and around the water this summer

Rosebud Emergency Nurse Unit Manager Jacqui Allen is urging everyone to stay safe by the water this Australia Day long weekend.

Sunshine will bathe Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula this Australia Day long weekend, with warm temperatures likely to encourage an influx of people to our region’s beaches and waterways.

“Whether you’re on holidays or not, if you’re going to a beach, jumping into the backyard pool or swimming in a lake, you need to be careful,” says Jacqui Allen, Rosebud Emergency Nurse Unit Manager.

“We’ve seen in just the past few weeks how dangerous our waterways can be – how quickly and silently the environment around us can change.”

“Sadly people drown in the sea, inland waters and in swimming pools every year across our community and our state. Others may be injured, sometimes very seriously. Most of these incidents are preventable.”

Ms Allen says near-drownings can also leave a lasting impact on families, with victims sometimes left with permanent disabilities to the brain and airways.

“Most people who nearly drown are young children, but drowning accidents can happen to anyone of any age,” he says.

“Seek help immediately for the best chance of recovery, call triple-zero and perform CPR. You may save a life.”

Ms Allen says supervision – or constant watching – is one of the most important measures to prevent drowning or near-drowning, for adults, adolescents and children. She also makes the following suggestions on how you can stay safe in different types of waterways.

When swimming at a beach

  • Swim at a beach patrolled by lifesavers;
  • Swim between the red and yellow flags. They mark the safest areas to swim;
  • Swim under supervision or with a friend;
  • Read and obey the safety signs.

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When swimming in rivers

  • Throw in a twig to check how fast the river is flowing;
  • Float on your back and travel downstream feet first to protect your head from impact with any objects; and
  • Take care on riverbanks.

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When swimming in a lake

  • Be aware of water temperature.
  • Enter the water feet first.
  • Remember wind will cause choppy waves that make it dangerous to swim.
  • Take care with floating toys on windy days.

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When swimming in a pool

  • Always walk around the pool and remember to check for others before entering the water. 
  • Display a resuscitation chart on your home pool fence. 
  • Familiarise children with water by taking them to lessons at the local pool. 

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“Those first few minutes can be the difference between life and death. Always call triple zero for an ambulance in an emergency and begin performing CPR,” says Ms Allen. 

Where to get help