By Michelle Jones and Megan Healy

Summertime is the time of year when many people enjoy swimming, whether in their own pool or at the public pools. Although swimming should be a fun activity, the pool can be a dangerous place if proper safety precautions are not taken. This week, the Calhoun County Office of the American Red Cross would like to share some practical guidelines to ensure that you and your family enjoy a safe and fun time at the pool throughout the summer months.

First, if you own your own pool, make sure your pool has a locked fence completely around it. Also, make sure that children cannot climb over the fence or slip underneath it. The lock should be a keyed or combination lock in order to reduce the chances of children getting into the pool area.

Second, while children are in the pool, an adult should ALWAYS be supervising them. A child's chances of drowning increase greatly when they are not supervised by an adult. In addition, keep floatation devices close by to throw to a drowning victim. Most importantly, try to teach your child how to swim. Even if they can only dog paddle, it could still save their life.

Lastly, apply and reapply sunscreen. Even if the sunscreen is labeled "waterproof," reapply as often as possible. It is better to be overprotected than not protected enough.

By following these guidelines, your swimming experience can be a much safer one. We hope you have a great summer at the pool! For more information on this or other safety and emergency preparedness topics, please contact AmeriCorps volunteers Michelle Jones and Megan Healy at the American Red Cross office, located in room 106 of the Calhoun County Courthouse, from Monday through Friday between 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m, or call (304) 588-0717 or (304) 485-7311.

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