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Playing it safe in summer: Having the right equipment and know-how can prevent injuries

The summer months bring warm temperatures and bright sunshine. Most people take for granted that summer will be a time of fun and relaxation, forgetting that dangers can be associated with many summertime activities. Local first responders use these early summer months to try to educate the public about the best means to prevent injuries or disasters typically associated with this season.

Water ready

This time of the year we try to promote water safety, said Rick Borden, the director of community preparedness for the American Red Cross. "Learn how to swim. You would be amazed at the number of people who don't know how to swim. Whether you are 3 or 30, we can offer programs."

Cross said in addition to learning the basic skills of swimming, a major component of their swim programs is safety guidelines. Students in the programs are taught to not swim alone and how to use a throw rope to assist a swimmer in trouble.

Borden said whether people know how to swim or not, they should have the right rescue equipment available. A throw rope about 20 feet long or a safety tube should be available to toss out to swimmers in trouble. Borden said use of the throw rope and safety tubes keeps the rescuer safe and allows the rescuer to save more people.

"It doesn't matter if you are a good swimmer," he said. "The instinct of a person who is in trouble is to grab on."

For people in boats, kayaks and canoes, life jackets should be worn at all times. George June, chief of the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Emergency Corps, said the balance on a boat can change in an instant. If the canoe or boat turns over, there will be no time to search for and put on a life vest, so life preservers should be put on before entering the watercraft. Borden also reminds people not to use alcohol when swimming or boating.

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