Water Safety Tips from the Maynard Fire Department

water-safetyAs summer approaches, Chief Anthony Stowers and the Maynard Fire Department would like to remind residents to be safe while swimming in both public and private pools, as well as participating in recreational activities on the Assabet River.

Although the majority of the Assabet River flows gently, there are some Class 1 and 2 rapids in Maynard that can provide a challenge for beginner whitewater boaters. Please be aware that dams, high water (and low bridges), downed trees, and seasonal rapids can pose serious hazards to boaters.

The American Canoe Association offers the following safety tips to kayakers, paddlers, and recreational boaters:

  • Always wear a life jacket. In Massachusetts, life preservers are required to be worn by all canoeists and kayakers from Sept. 15 to May 15 each year.
  • Children under the age of 12 must wear a life jacket in a public body of water at all times.
  • Be a competent swimmer with the ability to handle oneself underwater, moving water, surf or current.
  • Keep the craft under control. Do not enter a rapid unless you are reasonably sure you can navigate it or swim the entire rapid in case you capsize.
  • Keep a lookout for hazards and avoid them. Watch for fog, especially on coastal waters.
  • Know your emotional and physical limitations.
  • Group members need to constantly assess the behavior of others in their group.

For those with their own pools, Maynard Fire suggests that the community follow safety tips outlined by the American Red Cross:

  • Per Massachusetts law, have at least a 4-foot-high barrier that encloses the pool and an access gate that self-closes, locks, and opens outward from the swimming area (even if you don’t have children).
  • Fasten a safety cover over the pool when it is not in use, and remove ladders to further prevent access into the pool. For added safety, install a pool alarm that will sound if anyone enters the water.
  • Never leave children unattended while they are near or in a pool, and make sure they have an adult to accompany them into the water. Young or inexperienced swimmers should always wear a life jacket or inflatable arm floats.
  • Make sure children stay away from pool drains, pipes, or any other openings to avoid getting trapped or hurt. If a child is missing, always check the pool first.
  • Set safety instructions and share them with family, friends, neighbors, or anyone else who is near or uses the pool. Advise children to stay away from pool deep ends, and to always walk, never run near the pool.
  • Take a CPR course for adults and children to be prepared if an emergency situation occurs. Update skills regularly.