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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Warsaw. Drowning. How to behave when we are carried away by the river current?

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Since the beginning of April, the Police Headquarters have recorded 179 drownings. Some of them occurred in rivers. Policemen from the Warsaw river police station explain what to do when we are carried away by the current, and also what to do when we see a drowning person. And they remind you that you can get a ticket for swimming in the Vistula.

In an interview with the Polish Press Agency, Marcin Zawadzki, a policeman from the River Police Headquarters in Warsaw, noted that officers report a very large number of drownings in rivers each year. – Rivers, especially the large ones, have typical threats to them. Strong current, changing nature of the bottom and underwater obstacles that we are not able to identify without entering this water – said Zawadzki.

– That is why swimming is prohibited on all beaches in Warsaw. This is not a coincidence. It is because of these factors that swimming is prohibited. By entering the Vistula River, apart from the fact that we risk our own lives, we also risk criminal liability, because you can get a fine of up to PLN 250 – he stressed.

He explained that you cannot enter the Vistula in Warsaw, because even without swimming, we pose a threat to ourselves. – On large rivers, especially on the Vistula River, so-called bumps often form. These are places where shallow water meets deep water. The sand is very fine where these two areas meet. By literally taking one step, we can run the risk of the sand falling underneath us and the difference may be up to two meters deep within one meter in length – he explained.

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“Let’s not overestimate our skills”

The policeman noted that in his experience people were drowning in rivers because they panicked. When they begin to sink, they begin to fight the current. – The river is a threat to us, but it can save us at some point. If we are carried away by the current of the river, surrendering to it is the best solution. Most likely in 10, 20 or 50 meters the depth will change. There will be enough of this water below us that we will be able to stand – he said.

Marcin Zawadzki also explained what to do when you see a drowning person. – First of all, there is an iron rule that we should not overestimate our skills. Let us remember that the “dead lifeguard” is a weak lifeguard – he said.

– First of all, first we call the emergency phone – the police, the fishing guard or the Volunteer Water Rescue Service. Any service that is dedicated to saving people on the water will only be quick and effective when we give exactly the right place. It is very important to indicate this place as precisely as possible. Consider landmarks such as bridges, church towers, landmark buildings, even the shape of the shore. Everything that is able to guide rescuers – he explained.

– Let’s also remember not to get into the water alone. If we have already informed the emergency services, try to do something for the person who is drowning. Let’s try to get her something. Never with your own hand, because, as they say, “a drowning man grabs a razor”. Let’s give a branch, a towing rope, and if we have, then an inflatable toy. Anything that allows the person to catch his breath for a while. It may save her life – added Zawadzki.

How do I know if someone needs help in the water? Why should you not save on your own? Jacek Kleczaj from WOPR translatesTVN24

While swimming, “we should use a buoy”

In turn, the constable Julia Nowakowska from the River Police Station in Warsaw emphasized that when resting by the water, we must first of all remember to be reasonable. – This is the most important. We should only use guarded bathing areas, designated bathing areas, where the bottom is checked. While swimming, let’s use safety measures, such as a life buoy. When using pedal boats or kayaks, let’s put on life jackets, take care of our safety – said the policewoman.

She appealed to remember about the half-hour break between eating and getting into the water. – Let us cool down the body gradually, before we enter the water, splash the ankles and arms. Let’s spread sunscreen, put on hats. We never run into the water – she said. – If children are bathing, adults watch over them. They stand by the shore, and even knee-deep in the water. The reaction time is then shorter and we have a better chance of reacting when the child needs our help – she emphasized.

The policewoman emphasized that if we want to feel safer in the water, we should use a buoy. – We put the harness on, and she follows us. It does not interfere with swimming and can save – Nowakowska summed up.

Main photo source: TVN24

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