Lifeguard, OHP talk water safety following recent drownings

Lifeguard, OHP talk water safety following recent drownings

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Seven people across the state have drowned in Oklahoma lakes in the last ten days. Two of them happened in our area, and the most recent one happened in Edmond.

An Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper and a lifeguard at the Lawton YMCA both say one of the most important things someone can do whether they’re at the lake or in the pool is keep their eyes on kids and make sure they have the proper safety equipment. They suggest people should have a U.S. Coastguard life jacket.

Knowing how to swim is something that can help keep someone above the water, but Trooper Ryan Griffith believes it can also give someone too much confidence if they’re not careful.

"It's always the people that can swim and their families say that they can swim like a fish that I have found over the years that typically drown," he said.

Griffith said he’s been a part of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Marine Enforcement Section since the early 2000s and he’s only worked one drowning case where it was a teen or adult that could not swim.

Swimming instructor Lara Murdock said as a mom it's terrifying to think about the recent victims and think that it could be one of her kids.

"You want your kid to be, you want any kid or adult to be excited to be in the water,” she said. “But you also want everyone to have a natural caution to water. Drownings just happen too often."

She said it can happen fast whether it's a kid or an adult.

"A lot of times, it's not what you think,” she said. “It's not like Hollywood. It's not hands waving, screaming, shouting for help. It's normally just someone got tired and couldn't make it to where they could touch again or maybe they thought they had less room to get to the surface and they weren't at the surface."

Trooper Griffith said if someone sees someone go underwater at a lake, try to help them if they can safely do so. If they can’t get them out, he said they should call for help as quickly as they can and remember where it happened, so they can know where to look and emergency officials can work to find the person as quickly as possible.

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