For the second weekend in a row, a storm is swirling up the east coast of the United States, bringing with it the threat of large ocean swells and dangerous surf conditions. American Red Cross chapters in potentially affected states are busy making preparations in case the storm moves inland.
The National Hurricane Center said Friday morning that although Tropical Storm Danny is disorganized, people near the coast should still be on the alert from the Carolinas to New England. The Red Cross offers the following advice and safety tips for anyone who may be near East Coast beaches this weekend.
- Be aware of the danger of rip currents and swim only at beaches with lifeguards in designated swimming areas.
- If caught in a rip current, stay calm and don't fight the current.
- Swim parallel to the shore until free of the current.
- Once free, turn and swim toward shore.
- If a swimmer feels they won't make it in to the shore, they should draw attention to themselves by waving and calling for help.
If someone is in trouble in the water, 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.
If you are going to the beach, check conditions before entering the water. See if any warning flags are up or ask a lifeguard about water conditions, beach conditions, or any potential hazards. Even if you don't plan on going in the water, be aware of the dangers of being near the ocean during these conditions. Last week's Hurricane Bill never came ashore, but the rough water the storm churned up was blamed for two deaths, including someone who was pulled into the water as they watched the high waves.
Visit RedCross.org for additional water safety tips and for information on Red Cross swimming programs. The Red Cross offers swimming and water safety courses for people of all ages and abilities. Contact your local chapter to find out which aquatic facilities 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.