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Survival Tips

Before you get into deep water, here are some things to remember

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-- Learn how to swim. Swimming is not necessarily instinctual, as a baby or a dog can drown in two inches of water. Contact Park & Rec for info about swimming lessons, 823-PLAY.

-- Wear flotation devices while tubing, kayaking, and rafting. Wearing a life jacket doubles your chances for survival.

-- If you find yourself stranded in deep water without a lifejacket, do the pessimistically named "Dead Man's Float." Belly down, like a jellyfish, let your limbs dangle from your side. Every 10-15 seconds, lift your head to breathe.

-- Hypothermia can occur very quickly. Most effective for heat conservation is HELP (heat escape lessening posture). By pulling your knees into your chest (think fetal position) you will significantly reduce heat loss.

-- Don't try to rescue anyone while drunk, especially if you can't swim yourself.

-- Don't freak out! Thrashing around will only waste energy. If you feel like you're drowning, count to three and try to focus.

-- If tossed from a raft or stuck in rapids, make sure that your feet are pointing downriver (so if you hit a rock, you'll hit it with your feet, not your head).

-- FYI: According to the Center for Heath Services, 35-44 year olds are most at risk for drowning, followed by 25-34 year olds.

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