Summer in Ohio is the season when many of us spend time in and around water -- fishing, boating, and swimming.
Some of my most fond childhood memories were made at the local swimming pool.
However, once we become comfortable swimmers, it's easier to take risks in and around water. That's why it's important to remind your family members of potential water safety hazards.
You could prevent an injury or drowning, the second leading cause of death from unintentional injuries for people ages 5-24.
To help your children reduce their risk of drowning, review these important water safety guidelines with them:
* Swim only if a lifeguard or adult give your permission.
* Follow the posted rules such as "Danger," "No diving," or "No swimming."
* Always swim with a buddy. If you get tired or need any help, a buddy might be able to help or find help.
* Before swimming in an unfamiliar place, check with a lifeguard or adult to see how deep the water is.
Unless you know how to swim, never go in water in which you can't maintain your chest and head above the surface while standing.
* Never jump or dive unless the lifeguard or an adult says it's OK to do so.
Enter the water feet-first the first time instead of diving.
* Don't eat candy or chew gum when swimming. You could choke.
* Never swim at night. Darkness can hide dangerous obstacles and, if you are injured, darkness makes it more difficult for rescue workers to find and help you.
* Get out of the water right away if you hear thunder or see lightning.
* When on a boat, children and adults should wear a personal flotation device.
Should you fall into the water, PFDs help keep you afloat with your head out of the water.
Having your head out of the water helps maintain your body temperature and will make it easier for others to see you so they can provide help.
Air-filled swimming aids are no substitute for a PFD and should never be used instead of a PFD.
* Learn to float, tread water, and swim. Having these skills can decrease your chance of drowning should you accidentally find yourself in water over your head.
Washington Township Fire Department Fire Marshal Alan Perkins submitted the Smoke Signals column.