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Keeping You Safe: Why flotation devices, knowing CPR are important at the beach

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 11:23 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - This week’s “Keeping You Safe” goes to the beach, where safety officials discussed flotation devices and why it’s important to know CPR.

Grand Strand Medical Center shared an eye-opening statistic released in 2019 that showed where South Carolina stands when it comes to unintentional drownings,

“We were the state with the ninth highest rate for fatal unintentional drownings,” Chrissie Catlla, injury prevention and community outreach coordinator, said. “Anyone who is not very comfortable should be in a life jacket.”

Catlla said the safest flotation device is a U.S. approved Coast Guard life jacket.

“You’ll want to make sure that all of the buckles, the snaps, the zippers are appropriately on. Then you want to test it. You’ll want to pull up on the life jacket. If it doesn’t hit the chin or the ears, then it’s an appropriate fit,” she said.

Catlla said factors that influence drowning include:

  • Lack of swimming ability
  • Failure to wear life jacket/flotation device
  • Alcohol use
  • People not watching swimmers

Catlla, a registered nurse, also showed demonstrated how to administer CPR.

“If someone has drowned, the first thing you want to do is that you’re going to pull them to safety,” she said. “Once you get them out, you put them on their back, open their airway by lifting their chin.”

She said the lifesaver should then check the person’s pulse. If they’re not breathing, chest compressions should begin.

“You use two hands in the center of their chest and you pump their chest,” Catlla said.

It’s 100 compressions per minute, 30 times. Then, tilt the person’s chin backwards and give two breaths. CPR should continue until EMS arrives.

“If you’re going to be around open bodies of water, knowing CPR is one of the best ways we can help save lives,” Catlla said.

Here are a few places that offer CPR classes:

American Heart Association

American Red Cross

Horry County Fire Rescue

Coastline CPR

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