Texoma: Staying Safe at the Lake - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Texoma: Staying Safe at the Lake

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There are some things to know when enjoying the lake especially now, as the drought has caused some hidden dangers that even those who go to the lake often may not know of.

Having fun with friends and family can quickly become dangerous when you haven't taken the proper precautions. Knowing what dangers to look for and how to react can mean the difference between life and death.

"While you're out on the lakes and stuff, wear your life jackets. If you have to get out on the water just go on and put your life jacket on," said Mike Hall is the Fire Chief for the lake Arrowhead Volunteer Fire Department.

Chief Hall is also a paramedic, and said the drought has caused lake waters to recede to the drop off point. One step can take you from shallow water to extremely deep water, this also causes trouble for boaters because they're closer to swimmers.

"If you've got a lot of boating coming around, be careful getting out into the water because, you've got other boats and stuff that can run over you because they don't see you," said Chief Hall.

This time of year the water is still cool enough to cause cramping which is extremely dangerous for swimmers. Whether swimmers are injured or drowning knowing how to signal for help is crucial.

"Just flailing in the water they could take that as playing but if you take and just waive your arms in a cross manner over the top of your head that is the universal sign of distress," said Chief Hall.

Most importantly, don't panic. Panicking can cause someone to take on water and drown. Instead, stay calm, try to get someone's attention or get to shallow water. If someone is injured Clay County Paramedic Chris Cobey said, don't move them if they're in a safe place.

"It's human instinct to want to pick those people up and move them and take them to somewhere to get them help. That's the worst thing that you can do to somebody, especially, if you're talking about a diving incident," said Cobey.

Lastly, those on shore should know what's going on in the water. Periodically look up at the people in the water to make sure they are safe. Surprisingly, if you think someone has gone under don't run for help.

"The best thing you can do at that point is stay right where you are. If you're with a group of people or with someone, have somebody specifically you know you, call 911 or call for help, keep your eye on that spot, exactly where they went down," said Cobey.

If someone was pulled from the lake and has no visible injuries, paramedics say to turn them on their left side, this will help keep their airway open until help arrives.

Jenyne Donaldson, Newschannel Six.