Rip Currents

  • Severe Spring Weather Safety

    BE PREPARED FOR SPRING & SUMMER NATURAL CATASTROPHES

    Spring and Summer are certainly two joyous seasons. From the perfume of fresh flowers blooming & the symphony of birds chirping, to the scent of sunblock & sand between your toes... Although, most do not consider that natural catastrophes such as severe weather, floods, extreme heat, and wildfires are very likely during Spring and Summer! Resolve to be ready by taking a moment to read the tips below. Share this and encourage your family and friends to prepare throughout the year for all weather hazards during spring and summer 2018.

    GENERAL SEASONAL PREPAREDNES TIPS

    Make a family emergency communication plan and include pets. Identify an out of town emergency contact to coordinate information with family/friends. Check on neighbors. Keep an emergency kit wherever you spend time: home, car, work, etc. Download the FEMA App and set up local alerts. Listen to local officials by radio, TV, or social media and take action. Practice your preparedness plans with a drill or exercise. Take a first aid class so you can help until first responders arrive. Learn more! Read our Disaster & Survival Forum and remember power outages are the most common emergency. (Why? Because almost all other emergencies cause power outages).

    SPRING PREPAREDNESS TIPS

    Severe Weather

    Severe weather has the potential to cause damage, social disruption, and even loss of life. Severe weather during spring includes flooding, tornadoes, tropical cyclones, severe & supercell thunderstorms, hail, and even hurricanes! Plan ahead of seasonal severe weather phenomena by identifying a safe emergency shelter location. Stock emergency shelter and sleeping supplies, from blankets and tarps to ponchos and body warmers. If ordered to evacuate, take action immediately. Know the route and plan where to go.

    Flood

    Never drive or walk through flooded streets; Turn Around, Don’t Drown. Check your flood insurance policies to ensure you have enough coverage. Keep an automotive emergency kit in your vehicle so that one is available when disaster strikes.

    Rain Ponchos

    Keep dry during rainfall or a storm to prevent sickness. Our adult and child rain ponchos are about wallet-size when folded, yet when opened, are large enough to adequately cover the body to protect against the elements.

    SUMMER PREPAREDNESS TIPS

    Extreme Heat

    Extreme heat can be deadly. Stay inside where it is cool. Wear cool clothes and change activities to stay safe. Never leave children or pets in a car. Stock a Mylar solar sleeping bag / blanket, which can be used as a heat shield. Practice heat safety wherever you are. Stay hydrated and take breaks if you are at a job site. Check up on the elderly, sick, and those without AC. Never leave kids or pets unattended in a vehicle. Limit strenuous outdoor activities.

    Wildfire Safety

    Report a wildfire if you see one; you may be the first to see it.
    Wildfires can kill. If ordered to evacuate, know the route and plan where to go. Stock up evacuation & fire supplies at home.

    Children & Youth + Back to School

    Ensure children are included in preparedness conversations.
    Know the emergency plan for your child’s school, college, or child care facility.
    Practice evacuation plans and other emergency procedures with children on a regular basis.
    Make sure children have emergency contacts memorized or written down in a secure place. Purchase your child a kids first aid kit.


    Image of an emergency survival kit in a port a potty bucket with food, water and supplies

    Disaster Kits

    Survival Kits For Emergency Disaster Preparedness

    Image of long lasting emergency food rations

    Food & Water

    Emergency Food Rations & Water Supply

    Image of a two person emergency sleeping bag and a Mylar Solar Emergency Space Blanket

    Shelter & Sleeping

    Emergency Blankets, Tents, Canopies, Tarps & More

    Image of whistles and short-range radio walkie talkies

    Signal & Messaging

    Devices for Signaling & Communicating in Emergencies

    Image of a Swiss Army style knife showing the concept of a multi-function tool

    Survival Tools

    Fire Starters, Survival Knives, SOL, Leatherman & much more

    Graphical portrayal through photos of a flashlight and waterproof matches showing the need for light and warmth in an emergency

    Emergency Heat & Light

    Warmers, Heating, Candles-Flashlights-Lanterns-GlowSticks

    Image of the CERT (Community Emergecy Response Team) Logo in an ebroidered PAtch (to siginify that First Aid Mart Carries a full line of C.E.R.T.Gear)

    CERT Gear & Supplies

    CERT Kits & vests, caps, shirts, logo patches, fieldbooks +

    Image of an American Red Cross Emergency Disaster Supplies kit with contents spread out to show all thetypes of food, water, emergency shelter and signaling required in an earthquake or other disaster.

    Red Cross Supplies

    American Red Cross Emergency Kits: Be Red Cross Ready

    Image of the four stages of Triage: Minor delayed care / can delay up to three hours - Delayed urgent care / can delay up to one hour - Immediate immediate care / life-threatening - Deceased (Morgue) victim is dead or mortally wounded / no care

    Triage & Incident Command

    S.T.A.R.T. Triage Tags, Tape, Kits + ICS Gear and Supplies

    Image of Toilet Paper and Hand Sanitizer - to show the importance of considering sanitation needs in gering up for emergencies and disaster survival

    Sanitation & Hygiene

    Personal Hygiene Kits, Toilets & Chemicals + Sanitary Items

    AAA Emergency Roadside Kit image to depict the need to prepare personal and company vehicles for emergency situations - emergencies occur while away from home adnd work as well.

    Roadside+Auto Emergency

    Auto Emergency Survival Kits, Roadside Tools & Survival Items

    Imageof two empty backas - building an emergency disasster preparedness and survival kit starts with considering what to pack all your gear in!

    Empty Bags & Containers

    Backpacks, Duffels, Buckets and Rolling kits to build your own

    Photo of a Search and Rescue kit showing the typical SAR Gear needs such as; helmet, ropes, etc.

    SAR Gear: Rescue Stuff

    Search & Rescue Kits and Essential SAR Provisions

    Cute picture of a dog wearing a stethoscope.

    Disaster Supplies for Pets

    Disaster Emergency Kits for Dogs and Cats + Survival Food

    Image of a FIre Extinguisher and a Fireman's Axe to signify preparedness for fires and evacuation

    Fire Safety & Evacuation

    Caution Tapes, Escape Masks & Ladders + Fire Safety Gear

    Image of survival guides and DVDs - learn about preparedness, sheltering in place, and survival

    Are you Ready?

    Learn CPR & First Aid!
    Nationwide Training

    Image showing a bright and highlt visible safety vest with reflective strips

    Hi-Vis Safety Vests

    CERT Vests & Bright Reflective Safety Vests for Visibility

    Image of a EMT/Paramedic style Trauma REsponse go Bag with the typical emergency medical equipment required for field traums rescue.

    Trauma & Field Medicine

    1st Aid, Trauma, Responder, Field Medical & Mass Casualty

    Also See...

  • Spring Can Bring Severe Weather

    Severe weather can strike at any time. Are you prepared? Severe weather can strike at any time. Are you prepared?

    April showers bring May flowers, but you should be prepared for possible severe spring weather, too. This can include tornadoes, lightning, and floods.

    Prepare your family for spring weather hazards while at home or traveling with information from the National Weather Service. Learn how to prepare and respond to the hazards most common during springtime by clicking any of the links below:

    • Severe Weather/Tornadoes
    Floods
    Lightning
    Tsunamis
    Rip Currents/Beach Hazards
    Heat

    Find additional flood and tornado preparedness information on the Prepareathon (formerly America’s PrepareAthon!) website

  • How to Avoid Getting Caught in a Rip Current

    Heading to the Beach?

    Sun and Sand are fun, waves are amusing, and rip currents are deadly.

    Rips are fast-moving currents of water that can pull even the strongest swimmer away from the shore. According to the USLA, rip currents account for at least 100 deaths each year at U.S. surf beaches.

    The warning signs and other educational materials and activities, including National Weather Service surf zone forecasts are part of the decade-long “Break the Grip of the Rip” public awareness campaign by USLA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    • Check water conditions before going in by looking at the local beach forecast before you leave for the beach and talking to the lifeguard at the beach.
    • Only swim at a beach with lifeguards. The chances of drowning at a beach with lifeguards are 1 in 18 million (U.S. Lifesaving Association).
    • Don't assume! Great weather for the beach does not always mean it's safe to swim or even play in the shallows. Rip currents often form on calm, sunny days.
    • Learn how to spot a rip current. The Break the Grip of the Rip free online training will help you learn how to spot a rip current.
    • Rip currents aren't the only deadly beach hazard. Learn more about dangerous waves and other hazards and why you should never to turn your back on the ocean.

    Nine Dangers at the Beach – Rip Currents | Shorebreak | Lightning | Tsunamis | Sharks | Jellyfish | Heat and Sunburn | Harmful Algal Blooms | Water Quality

    The signs are illustrations designed to instruct people how to escape from a rip current if they become trapped in one, and show the rip from a bird’s-eye view rather than the perspective of someone on the beach.

    What are scientists doing to keep swimmers safer? Find out in this video: Predict the Rip:

    Rip-Vid

    Texas A&M has put a lot of thought into saving lives from rips. You can help their efforts by participating in their new Sea Grant online survey about rip currents. Your help could someday save a life. The survey is available here.

    Rip Currents Claim At Least 100 Lives Each Year Rip Currents Claim At Least 100 Lives Each Year

    The survey is designed to determine the public’s knowledge about rip currents and the effectiveness of the current warning signs in use at surf beaches around the country. It was developed by Chris Houser of Texas A&M University and Rob Brander of the University of New South Wales with support from the Texas Sea Grant College Program.

    Rip currents can occur at any beach with breaking waves, including the Great Lakes, and most often form at low spots or breaks in sandbars and near structures like piers, jetties and groins. According to the U.S. Lifesaving Association (USLA), more than 80 percent of the surf beach rescues performed by lifeguards each year involve rip currents.

    They are not always easy to identify, but signs of rip currents include a break in the pattern of incoming waves; a channel of churning, choppy water; an area with a noticeably different water color; and a line of foam, seaweed or debris moving steadily seaward.

    “The results of this survey will be used to determine whether our current efforts are visible, memorable and can be understood by beach users, or whether we need to rethink how to warn beach users of the rip danger before they enter the water. We hope that this information will help reduce the number of fatalities involving rip currents,” said Houser, associate professor of geography and associate dean for undergraduate affairs in Texas A&M’s College of Geosciences.

  • Welcome to Meteorological Summer ??

    While calendar Summer won't begin until the 20th, "real" Summer is here. We shared a lot of heat safety ideas during Extreme Heat Week, but there is more to summer than just warmth.

    Summer means vacation, outdoor activities, and fun in the sun! It’s a time when families hit the road to visit national parks or distant relatives. The warm months and long days mean that there is plenty of time for baseball games and barbecues. The sultry temperatures practically invite you to take a dip in the pool or ocean.

    But don’t let the sunny days and warm nights fool you. Summer also holds significant weather and water hazards. Heat waves can be lengthy and deadly. Lightning deaths are at their peak during the summer. Beach hazards such as rip currents can catch the unprepared. And, it’s the start of hurricane season.

    WRN-SummerThis summer, as Weather Ready Nation Ambassadors, we remind you that the the National Weather Service (NWS) wants you to be prepared for the following weather and water hazards:

  • Spring Weather

    Remember that Spring is about change. It can also mean surprises - be sure you are ready...

    Spring hazards include:

    Read Spring Weather Risks to Watch and Prepare For

    Flood-Safety-Graphic-1

  • Spring Safety and Weather Concerns

    Meteorological Spring is already upon us, and we remind our readers that Spring, while beautiful, is also a time of wild weather and related risks.

    We humans have been around long enough to know how to prepare and thrive, but as society advances, so do darwinistic tendencies... don't be "that guy" - don't rush to watch the tsunami, don't stand outside "oooohing" and "aaaahing" and the lightning storm, don't be the last one out of the pool or off the beach - it could be your last anything.

    Read these articles to prepare for Spring hazards:

    Tornadoes, floods, rip currents, lightning, and early season heat - spring is three months of danger that can imperil the unprepared. It roars in like a lion, rampaging across the United States throughout March, April and May. Get Ready.

    Read more: Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding – Disasters Abound – Be ReadyNatural Disasters and Severe Weather & the very popular - Nine Dangers at the Beach – Rip Currents | Shorebreak | Lightning | Tsunamis | Sharks | Jellyfish | Heat and Sunburn | Harmful Algal Blooms | Water Quality

    Spring

  • Are you Tsunami Ready? #TsunamiPrep #WRW

    Official tsunami warnings are broadcast through local radio and tv, wireless emergency alerts, NOAA Weather Radio and NOAA websites. They may also come through outdoor sirens, local officials, text message alerts and telephone notifications.Tsunami-Prep

    Also read:

    Learn about the four levels of tsunami alerts: http://1.usa.gov/1LyahtZ  #TsunamiPrep #WRW

  • Safety When Wet

    Top Ten Beach and Water Safety TipsUSLALearn To Swim: Learning to swim is the best defense against drowning. Teach children to swim at an early age. Children who are not taught when they are very young tend to avoid swim instruction as they age, probably due to embarrassment. Swimming instruction is a crucial step to protecting children from injury or death.

    Swim Near a Lifeguard: USLA statistics over a ten year period show that the chance of drowning at a beach without lifeguard protection is almost five times as great as drowning at a beach with lifeguards. USLA has calculated the chance that a person will drown while attending a beach protected by USLA affiliated lifeguards at 1 in 18 million (.0000055%).

    Swim with a Buddy: Many drownings involve single swimmers. When you swim with a buddy, if one of you has a problem, the other may be able to help, including signaling for assistance from others. At least have someone onshore watching you.

    Check with the Lifeguards: Lifeguards work continually to identify hazards that might affect you. They can advise you on the safest place to swim, as well as places to avoid. They want you to have a safe day. Talk to them when you first arrive at the beach and ask them for their advice.

    SUNSCREENUse Sunscreen and Drink Water: Everyone loves a sunny day, but exposure to the sun affects your body. Without sunscreen, you can be seriously burned. The sun’s rays can also cause life-long skin damage and skin cancer. To protect yourself always choose "broad spectrum” sunscreen rated from 15 to 50 SPF, or clothing that covers your skin, and reapply sunscreen regularly throughout the day. The sun can also dehydrate you quickly. Drink lots of water and avoid alcohol, which contributes to dehydration. Lifeguards treat people for heat exhaustion and heat stroke from time to time. If you feel ill, be sure to contact a lifeguard.

    Obey Posted Signs and Flags: It sometimes seems as though there are too many signs, but the ones at the beach are intended to help keep you safe and inform you about local regulations. Read the signs when you first arrive and please follow their direction. Flags may be flown by lifeguards to advise of hazards and regulations that change from time to time. You can usually find informational signs explaining the meaning of the flags, or just ask the lifeguard.

    Keep the Beach and Water Clean: Nobody likes to see the beach or water littered with trash. Even in places where beach cleaning services pick up trash daily, it may linger on the beach for hours, causing an unsightly mess and threatening the health of birds and animals. Do your part. Pick up after yourself and even others. Everyone will appreciate you for it.

    Learn Rip Current Safety: USLA has found that some 80% of rescues by USLA affiliated lifeguards at ocean beaches are caused by rip currents. These currents are formed by surf and gravity, because once surf pushes water up the slope of the beach, gravity pulls it back. This can create concentrated rivers of water moving offshore. Some people mistakenly call this an undertow, but there is no undercurrent, just an offshore current. If you are caught in a rip current, don't fight it by trying to swim directly to shore. Instead, swim parallel to shore until you feel the current relax, then swim to shore. Most rip currents are narrow and a short swim parallel to shore will bring you to safety.

    Enter Water Feet First: Serious, lifelong injuries, including paraplegia, occur every year due to diving headfirst into unknown water and striking the bottom. Bodysurfing can result in a serious neck injury when the swimmer's neck strikes the bottom. Check for depth and obstructions before diving, then go in feet first the first time; and use caution while bodysurfing, always extending a hand ahead of you.

    Wear a Life Jacket: Some 80% of fatalities associated with boating accidents are from drowning. Most involve people who never expected to end up in the water, but fell overboard or ended up in the water when the boat sank. Children are particularly susceptible to this problem and in many states, children are required to be in life jackets whenever they are aboard boats.

    fao-440Drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death in the United States and the second leading cause of accidental death for persons aged 5 to 44. For children in the one to two year age range, drowning is the leading cause of injury death. In some states, like California, Florida, and Hawaii, drowning is the leading cause of injury death for persons under 15 years of age.

    Death by drowning is only the tip of the iceberg for aquatic injury. It has been found that for every ten children who die by drowning, 140 are treated in emergency rooms, and 36 are admitted for further treatment in hospitals. Some of these never fully recover.

    Males drown at a significantly higher rate than females (about 5 to 1). For boat related drownings, the ratio escalates to about 14 to 1.

  • Summer Surprises and Safety

    When you are walking or playing sports, attending summer camps, vacationing, or having general fun with friends and family, make sure you know your risks and are prepared to take action against heat distress, poor air quality, lightning strikes, wildfires, floods, rip currents, hurricanes and tornadoes… just to name a few. 

    We are Ambassadors of NOAA & The Weather Ready Nation Program! We are Ambassadors of NOAA & The Weather Ready Nation Program!

    Summer Safety means being Weather-Ready. This summer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) asks you to Be A Force of Nature! by becoming Summer Weather-Ready. Help us spread the word to ensure that everyone stays safe this summer! Summer in the northern hemisphere begins June 21 and lasts until September 23. It's an active season for people, the atmosphere and the oceans. People stay out later and longer, and more storms spin up. This combination provides us the opportunity for lots of fun, outdoor activities, but it also increases our risk to certain environmental hazards. NOAA wants to raise the nation's awareness to be Summer Weather-Ready!outdoor_first_aid_kit_banner

  • Nine Dangers at the Beach - Rip Currents | Shorebreak | Lightning | Tsunamis | Sharks | Jellyfish | Heat and Sunburn | Harmful Algal Blooms | Water Quality

    Trips to the beach aren't always fun in the sun. From strong currents and dangerous marine life, to lightning and contaminated water, plan your visit to the beach this summer with the following safety tips in mind. NOAA Safety Information on: Rip Currents | Shorebreak | Lightning | Tsunamis | Sharks | Jellyfish | Heat and Sunburn | Harmful Algal Blooms |  Water  Quality

    Rip Currents

    Quahogs collected during a surfclam and ocean quahog research survey. Smooth water located between breaking waves could signal the presence of a rip current.
    Rip currents account for more than 80 percent of rescues performed by surf beach lifeguards. They are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore that quickly pull swimmers out to sea. Rip currents typically extend from the shoreline, through the surf zone, and past the line of breaking waves. The best way to stay safe is to recognize the danger of rip currents. If caught in one, don't fight it! Swim parallel to the shore and swim back to land at an angle. Always remember to swim at beaches with lifeguards.

    Shorebreak

    This image shows cysts of Alexandrium fundyenseShorebreak have caused serious injury and death to both experienced and inexperienced bodysurfers and swimmers.
    A shorebreak is an ocean condition when waves break directly on the shore. Both small and high waves can be equally as unpredictable and dangerous and typically form when there is a rapid transition from deep to shallow water.

    The power of a shorebreak can cause injuries to extremities and the cervical spine. Spinal cord injuries most often occur when diving headfirst into the water or being tumbled in the waves by the force of the waves. Be sure to ask a lifeguard about the wave conditions before going into the water.

    Lightning

    Lightning strikes over a cityThere is no safe place outside when thunderstorms are in the area. If you hear thunder, you are likely within striking distance of the storm.
    Since 2000, an average of 38 people have been killed annually by lightning in the United States. Already in 2013, seven people have died due to lightning strikes. There is no safe place outside when thunderstorms are in the area. When thunder roars, go indoors!  The safest places during lightning activity are substantial buildings and hard-topped vehicles. Rain shelters, small sheds, and open vehicles are not safe.  Wait 30 minutes after the last thunder crack before going back to the beach. Lightning Kills.

    Tsunamis

    Tsunamis are most commonly generated by earthquakes in coastal regions. This map shows wave height in the Pacific Ocean related to the 2010 Japan tsuanmi.
    tsunami is a series of ocean waves generated by any rapid large-scale disturbance of the sea water. Most tsunamis are generated by earthquakes, but they may also be caused by volcanic eruptions, landslides, undersea slumps, or meteor impacts. The tsunami wave may come gently ashore or may increase in height to become a fast moving wall of turbulent water several meters high. Although we can’t prevent a tsunami, the effects can be reduced through community preparedness, timely warnings, and effective response.

    Sharks

    This image shows cysts of Alexandrium fundyenseOnly about a dozen of the more than 300 species of sharks have been involved in attacks on humans. Despite their reputation, they would much rather feed on fish and marine mammals.
    Shark attacks, though rare, are most likely to occur near shore, typically inshore of a sandbar or between sandbars, where sharks can become trapped by low tide, and near steep drop offs where shark’s prey gather. The relative risk of a shark attack is very small, but should always be minimized whenever possible. To reduce your risk:

    • Don’t swim too far from shore
    • Stay in groups – sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual
    • Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight when sharks are most active
    • Don’t go in the water if bleeding from a wound – sharks have a very acute sense of smell
    • Leave the shiny jewelry at home – the reflected light resembles fish scales
    • Avoid brightly-colored swimwear – sharks see contrast particularly well

    Jellyfish

    Shrimp riding a jellyfish in Gray's Reef National Marine Sancuary.Jellyfish have the ability to sting with their tentacles. While the severity of stings varies in humans, most jellyfish stings result only in minor discomfort.
    Keep an eye out for jellyfish. All jellyfish sting, but not all have venom that hurts humans. Of the 2,000 species of jellyfish, only about 70 seriously harm or may occasionally kill people.

    When on the beach, take note of jellyfish warning signs. Be careful around jellies washed up on the sand as some still sting if their tentacles are wet. Tentacles torn off a jellyfish can sting, too.

    If you are stung, don't rinse with water, which could release more poison. Lifeguards usually give first aid for stings. Bring a Jellyfish treatment product to the beach with you if you won't be near a Lifeguard. See a doctor if you have an allergic reaction.

    Excessive Heat and Sunburn

    This image shows cysts of Alexandrium fundyenseSunburn can be prevented by covering up, taking shelter, and using sunscreen.
    Too much heat and sun can spoil a vacation. Heat is the leading weather-related killer in the United States, causing more deaths than floods, lightning, tornadoes, and hurricanes combined. Heat disorder symptoms include sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

    Spending the day at the beach can lead to any of these disorders but the most visible is sunburn, which can take up to 24 hours before the full damage is visible. The two most common types of burns are first degree and second degree burns resulting in redness and even blisters.

    When a burn is severe, accompanied by a headache, chills, or a fever, seek medical help right away. Be sure to protect your skin from the sun while it heals.

    Harmful Algal Blooms

    This image shows cysts of Alexandrium fundyenseThis deep red harmful algae, called Lingulodinium polyedrum, often produces brightly colored water discoloration. It has been associated with fish and shellfish mortality events, but its threat to human health is still being evaluated.
    Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) (popularly referred to as red tides) are dense populations or "blooms" of algae that form in coastal waters. A small percentage of these blooms can be toxic to marine animals and humans. People can get sick by swimming directly in the water and by eating contaminated shellfish. If a sufficient amount of toxins are ingested, the results can be fatal.

    Currently, the combination of satellite imagery, buoy data, and field observations allow scientists to forecast the timing and location of blooms. This allows coastal managers and public health officials to make decisions regarding shellfish harvesting and beach closures to ensure the health of both residents and visitors.

    Water Quality

    beach closure signNOAA's beach and water quality predictions are now available in real-time for Michigan's Lake St. Clair. This will allow the local beach managers and area officials to make timely public health decisions regarding E. coli contamination and beach closures.
    Coastal beaches are among the most treasured natural resources in the nation, but beach closures or advisories caused by poor water quality often prevent the public from enjoying these resources. As water flows from land to coastal waters, it is often contaminated by untreated sewage from boats, pets, failing septic systems, fertilizers, and spills from hazardous substances.

    High levels of bacteria and other chemicals in the water can cause gastrointestinal illnesses in those that swim directly in the water. When visiting the beach, be aware of all beach closures and advisories.  leaf

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