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  • Heather Murray

Parents Preventing Childhood Drownings presents Sunday Survival Stories: Flags and Lifeguards

Updated: Apr 27, 2021

Every Sunday, we will share a story of a non-fatal drowning, discuss where things went wrong, and give some pointers on how to prevent it from happening to the people you love. Thankfully, these stories have happy endings for those involved, but sadly, we lose too many people to drowning every year. We hope examining these real-life stories help put the dangers of water into perspective and help you introduce various principles of water safety to your family!

Today’s story focuses on two very important factors when swimming in natural bodies of water. Is there a flag system to warn of dangers? Are there lifeguards nearby? In this story, lifeguard Zander Angelovic saves not one, but three from a potentially fatal situation.

Where is your favorite place to swim in a natural body of water, and where is the closest lifeguard to your swim destination? This article shows just how difficult a lifeguard’s job can be. The people Zander saved in this situation were just outside of his primary zone of coverage. He could tell that something was off, but not exactly what was going on until he was out in the water with them. What if these three swimmers were just a little further away from his patrol? Before you get in the water, look around for available lifeguards and keep them within your swimming proximity. The closer help is, the faster it gets to you when you need it.

And what about flag systems? This article states that yellow flags were flying at the time of the incident. Flag systems are designed to help swimmers evaluate swim conditions. They also may signify if a lifeguard will be on duty or not. Flag color codes can vary b

y location, so make sure before you swim that you and your swimming party have found, reviewed, and are familiar with the flag system at your location. Everyone should also be aware of each person’s swim ability within the group. Some swimmers may be able to swim in medium graded water, while other may require smooth, easy water no matter what the flag system is. Make the best decision for you and your swim buddies. If unsure, find a new, safer place to swim!

Swim within proximity of a lifeguard, and check the local flag system for water conditions. Have fun, be safe, and pick the safest place to swim!

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