(KLST/KSAN) – As temperatures in San Angelo and the Concho Valley continue to rise, everyone is looking for the best ways to cool off.

Many families enjoy taking a dip in the pool or even heading out to the lake for a day of water activities. Although jumping into a body of water is one of the best ways to beat the Texas heat, there are many things that you should keep in mind to ensure everyone is safe around water.

Here are the best water safety tips to help keep everyone safe this summer:

Be Water Competent:

According to American Red Cross, everyone entering any form of water needs to be water competent. Sounds great, but what does that mean?

Being water competent means improving your water safety not only for yourself but for everyone around you. This ensures that everyone will be safe and have fun during their time in the water.

American Red Cross says there are three ways to become water competent:

  • Water Smarts
  • Swimming Skills
  • Helping Others

Water Smarts:

To begin, no one should ever swim by themselves, even if you are an avid swimmer. Anything can happen when you are out for a swim so having someone else there with you can help save your life.

Secondly, make sure you know your physical limits before entering the water. Pushing your body past what it is used to or capable of can lead to serious injuries or the loss of your life.

American Red Cross also reminds everyone to wear a US Coast Guard-approved life jacket when boating. These life jackets should be the correct size for the user’s height and weight.

It is also very important to swim sober. Alcohol affects the way the brain and body function so drinking when swimming can be a mistake that can cost swimmers their life.

Always be ready to adjust to the environment you and others are swimming in. River or lake currents may not be apparent to the eye when looking into the water. Understanding that a current in any type of water can carry you away from safety is very important.

Wildlife and others items like rocks, vegetation, and debris are also things that swimmers should be ready to adjust for when swimming in larger bodies of water.

Lastly, know when and how to call for help. A plan should be set in place in case an emergency occurs when you are swimming. This could be someone sitting on the bank or outside the pool watching others swimming to keep everyone safe.

Swimming Skills:

American Red Cross says there are five different skills all swimmers should perform, in any type of water.

1. Enter water that’s over your head, then return to the surface.

2. Float or tread water for at least 1 minute.

3. Turn over and turn around in the water.

4. Swim at least 25 yards.

5. Exit the water.

Helping Others:

Knowing what to do in case of an emergency in and around water will not only help you protect yourself but also everyone else that is around you.

Make sure to keep an eye on children and weak swimmers when spending a day at the pool or lake. Watching these swimmers can help make sure they can receive help before anything serious occurs.

Second, make sure you know the signs of someone drowning. If someone is drowning, they will not have the energy or capability to shout for help. These swimmers’ mouths will be at water level as they try to keep their heads tilted back and above water to breathe. Hair might also be covering the person’s face, or their eyes might be closed as they continue to fight to stay above water. This often looks like someone trying to climb an invisible ladder.

In case someone is drowning, those around should also know how to safely retrieve the swimmer without causing any harm to them or others. American Red Cross reminds everyone to “Reach or throw, don’t go”.

If someone is in a pool, those on land might be able to reach out to the swimmer to safely pull them back to safety. If reaching for the person is not an option, throwing a floatation device toward the struggling swimmer is another great way to save them. Never go in the water after the swimmer. Even though you may be a great swimmer, trying to keep yourself afloat along with someone trying not to drown can lead to serious injury or death for both parties.

Lastly, know when and how to use first aid or CPR.

In case of Emergency:

If someone from your group goes missing when swimming, be sure to check the water for the swimmer and notify the Lifeguards on duty.

Watch for the signs of a drowning swimmer.

Rescue the swimmer using “Reach or threw, don’t go”.

Once the person is safely rescued from the water, ask someone to call EMS. If you are alone with the swimmer, assess the situation first then call.

Next, begin CPR or rescue breathing until help arrives.

If an AED is present and available be prepared to use the device.

Other swimming tips:

  • Even if a lifeguard is present, stay with your children in and around the water.
  • Avoid distractions like phones when around the water. Drowning can happen within a matter of seconds.
  • Inexperienced swimmers should have the appropriate swimming equipment such as a life jacket.
  • Teach children to ask before entering the water at any location.
  • Create a barrier around bodies of water to help keep children out of water when not allowed.