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American Red Cross Provides Safety Tips for Rip Tides Caused by Hurricane Bill
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August 20, 2009

If you're planning a trip to a beach along the upper U.S. East Coast this weekend, the American Red Cross has advice and safety tips for you to follow in case Hurricane Bill causes dangerous waves and rip tides where you are. 

Huricane Bill is currently a Category Three storm with winds of 125 mph, and experts say the storm could strengthen over the open Atlantic. The storm is projected to travel very close to Bermuda and make landfall in Canada.  Forecasters are predicting dangerous waves and rip tides all along the coast over the next several days.

Be aware of how dangerous rip currents are, and swim only at beaches with lifeguards in the designated swimming area.  Rip currents can form in any large open water area such as low spots and breaks in sandbars, or near structures such as jetties and piers.  A band of water a few feet wide may rush back through a gap in a sandbar made by breaking waves.  

If you are caught in a rip current, stay calm and don't fight the current.

  • Swim parallel to shore until free of the current.
  • Once free, turn and swim toward shore.
  • If you feel that you won't make it in to the shore, draw attention to yourself by waving and calling for help.

If you see someone in trouble, get help from a lifeguard.  If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1.  Throw the victim something that floats – a lifejacket, cooler, inflatable ball and yell instructions on how to escape the current. 

When at the beach, check conditions before you enter the water.  Check to see if any warning flags are up or ask a lifeguard about water conditions, beach conditions, or any potential hazards. 

The Red Cross offers swimming and water safety courses for people of all ages and abilities.  Each year, more than 2 million people participate in Red Cross swimming and water safety programs.  Visit RedCross.org for additional water safety tips and for information on our swimming programs.  Contact your local chapter to find out which aquatic facilities in your area offer Red Cross swimming courses.


About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

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