U.S. Corps of Engineers offers cold water survival tips | Health
WAPPAPELLO LAKE, MO (KFVS) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Wappapello and the SEMO Regional Water Safety Council are reminding residents to play it safe during the winter.
The Corps says there are some things you can do to save your life if you find yourself in cold water. First, all boaters should wear a life jacket and dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. They say cold water immersion causes numerous fatalities through four stages: shock, swimming failure, hypothermia and post-rescue collapse.
The initial shock of cold water causes involuntary gasping, making it difficult to catch your breath, and the corp says many people hyperventilate, faint and drown before they are able to calm down their breathing. They say the longer you are exposed to cold water, the more you lose your ability to move your extremities. Hypothermia is a condition in which the body loses heat faster than it can produce heat. Violent shivering develops and gives way to confusion and eventually cardiac arrest or unconsciousness.
According to the Corps, if you unexpectedly fall in the water in any season, you need to know cold water survival skills. Many of our nation’s open waters are mountain fed and water temperatures can run low enough to bring on this condition even in late summer. The Corps says to wear your life jacket because it helps hold heat in the core areas of your body. Holding heat in the core, enables you to put yourself in the HELP position (Heat Escape Lessening Posture) by drawing limbs into your body and keeping armpits and the groin area protected from unnecessary exposure.
For more information, contact the Wappapello Lake Management Office by calling 573-222-8562 or visiting our website at www.CorpsLakes.us/Wappapello.
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