Warning signs and how to prevent a drowning

DENISON, TX -- As the temperatures rise in Texoma, lifeguards and emergency crews are concerned about an increase in drowning accidents as more people hit the water.

Just days ago, search crews recovered the body of a 19-year-old who drowned in Lake Texoma Sunday evening.

Further south in the DFW area, the body of a 38-year-old man was recovered Wednesday from Lake Lewisville.

A Denison lifeguard shared tips with News 12 on how to spot a drowning victim and what to do if you become distressed in the water.

Trevor Robinson, head lifeguard of the Waterloo Pool, said the signs vary from person to person, but generally include:

- A lack of movement in the water
- Thrashing about or a "climbing" motion for air
- A look of panic in the face
- Bobbing up and down to take gulps of air
- Not talking or crying for help

In addition, Robinson said there are three ways for a distressed person in the water to stay alive.

"Our bodies are like balloons. You fill it with air, you're going to float. There are two floats that work best. We all know the dead man float. You hold your breathe, float on your front," he said.

When lying on your front, turn your head sideways to take breaths of air.

"If you can float on your back, great, do that. Deep breath, float on your back, breath from there," he said.

Another tactic is to bob up and down to take breaths of air if the pool floor or lake bottom isn't too deep.

Then, bob your way toward a shallow area to stand up in.

Bill Ray, Dension assistant fire chief, tells News 12 that panicking is what ultimately leads to a drowning.

Ray said staying calm and relaxed - and not thrashing about - is key to keep from going under.

The best way to avoid a potentially deadly situation, Robinson and Ray both said, is to stay out of the water if you are not a strong swimmer or to always wear a flotation device.

Robinson encouraged people who don't know how to swim to take lessons.

"There are people of all ages who cannot swim. We've had adults take swim lessons here," he said. "So don't be ashamed of that."

On Friday, the Waterloo pool will be participating in an attempt to hold the world's biggest swim lesson.

Lifeguard Sean Bohnet said pools across the globe will conduct a 30 minute swim lesson at the same time in attempt to break a Guinness World Record.

"Swim lessons save lives, no doubt about it," Bohnet said. "You're learning skills that will last a lifetime in the water."

The event is free to the public and starts at 10 a.m., but participants should arrive at 9:30 a.m.

It will take place at the Waterloo Pool at 1501 W Brock St. in Denison.

If the record is broken, anyone who participated is considered a world record holder, according to Bohnet.


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