Rip Current Awareness- June 5-11

Rip CurrentSchool’s out for the Summer, and the Summer Solstice is not far behind. June 21, 2011 is officially the beginning of Summer. With the warm weather and free time, many will travel to their favorite coastal cities to soak in the rays and ride the waves. Sometimes however, the water is not suitable to be in because of rip currents.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) is raising awareness of rip currents by declaring June 5-11 National Rip Current Awareness Week. Here at Express Medical Supplies, we are wanting to start early by providing information to help you and your family avoid devastation during the next trip to the beach.

What is a Rip Current?

NOAA defines rip currents as currents of water flowing away from the shore at surf beaches. They typically extend from the shoreline, through the surf zone and past the line of breaking waves. Some common misunderstandings about rip currents are that they a horizontal flow of water moving in the offshore direction. Many also believe that rip currents are responsible for pulling people under water. This is also false, rip currents carry people away from shore- not underwater. They typically form around low areas or where breaks in sandbars can be found. NOAA states that rip current deaths exceeds 100 annually.

How to Identify Rip Currents

There are many visual signs that can help you identify a rip current. NOAA lists the signs of identifying rip currents to include:

  • A channel of churning, choppy water
  • an area having a notable difference in water color
  • a line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving steadily seaward
  • a break in the incoming wave pattern

The safest precaution to prevent becoming a victim of rip currents is to check your local beach weather forcast before going to the beach.

rip current

The Ways to Avoid and Survive Rip Currents

Many things can help you avoid rip currents. Ways of doing this includes never swimming alone, being cautious while swimming at unguarded beaches, and if swimming at a guarded beach, obeying the lifeguard’s instructions.

If you are unfortunately caught in a rip current, don’t panic, there are methods that can help you survive. The most essential thing is to remain calm. Panicing can cause you to fight the current. This will make you lose energy and drown. Once calm, you must swim out of the current in a direction toward the shoreline. Eventually, you will be out of the current and can swim to shore. If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, you can float or tread out of it. If all of this is not possible, face the shore, wave your hands, and yell for help.

All of us at Express Medical Supplies wish the best for you and your family during the Summer. Visit us online for any of your medical supply needs. If you have any questions and would like to talk over the phone, you can reach one of our customer sales agents at 888-886-6337.

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