East Meadow

E.M.F.D. Raises Awareness to Pool and Beach Safety

The volunteers at the East Meadow Fire Department urge our residents to take all necessary pre-cautions this year to guard against pool and beach tragedies. Already in 2024, there have been several deaths of children and adults alike both in the back yard and at the beach.

Drowning is the leading cause of death in many states for children under the age of five. Unfortunately, it takes just seconds for a child to drown. Most of these children drown in their own backyard swimming pool, but others drown in buckets, bathtubs, toilets, dog water bowls, canals and ponds. Small children are top-heavy, and they don’t have the upper body strength to lift themselves out of one of these dangerous situations. Even if the child survives the incident, they are often left with permanent brain damage.

Your diligence to follow these simple instructions can make the difference for a friend or loved one. Please take a moment to review our presentation.

Drowning and near drowning can be prevented. Anyone involved with the supervision of children needs to be aware of the dangers associated with any body of water. Below are important tips to prevent needless tragedies.
* Know where your children are at all times
* Use an approved barrier to separate the pool from the house
* Never allow children to be alone near a pool or any water source, no exceptions!
* Have life-saving devices near the pool, such as a pole/hook, or flotation device
* Keep large objects such as tables, chairs, toys, and ladders away from pool fences
* Be sure the number of your local Rescue Squad is attached to your phone. East Meadow

Fire District residents must call 516-542-0576 to report an emergency
* Do not allow children to play near the pool and store all toys outside the pool area
* If you leave the pool area, always take the children with you
* For when all else fails, have an approved pool alarm to detect a mishap
* Always have a “designated child watcher”
* Learn to swim and teach your children, no matter the age
* Never swim alone, or while under the influence of alcohol or medications
* Never swim during a thunderstorm
* Never dive into unfamiliar or shallow bodies of water

Above all, whether you are swimming in the pool and soaking the sun, periodically take a moment to look at every person in the water. It is astounding to see the videos each year where a person is in distress, at times drowns, with other persons in the pool not seeing the distress.

* Make sure lifeguards are on duty and ask about surf conditions before going in the water.
* Swim only in areas where lifeguards are present. Only swim in designated areas.
* Never dive in the surf head first. The water is not always clear and you may not notice any obstructions or how shallow the water in front of you is
* Don’t swim out to far or overestimate your swimming ability
* Never depend on flotation devices for your safety
* Swim parallel to the shore if you want to swim long distances
* Like with a pool never drink alcohol and swim
* ALWAYS keep an eye on your children. Don’t turn away, even for a moment.
* Children can fall below the surface in a second and it can be impossible to find them fast enough.
* Always hold the hands of younger children. Sudden changes in surf direction can separate them from you in an instant.
* Swim parallel to the shore if you want to swim long distances.
* Wear “Water Shoes” or sandals on the beach to avoid broken glass and sharp shells.
* Lightning strikes at the beach are common in thunder storms. If you hear thunder, get out of the water immediately. Seek shelter in a building or automobile. If no shelter is available, find the lowest spot possible and avoid open spaces. Don’t sit under an umbrella and stay away from metal objects like aluminum chairs.
* If you get into trouble in the water, don’t panic. Raise and wave your arm for help, float and wait for assistance.
* Wear sunscreen, with at least a level 15 sun protection factor, to protect against burns.

Every year parents at a crowded beach are panic’d when their child has strayed from the family site.  Fortunately, in many cases, the child is held by other adults until the reunion is made, or authorities arrive.

Should this happen to your family, quickly notify security and police to assist in founding your child. Leave a family member at your beach site in case your child returns. 

Beach Preparation: We all take pictures everywhere we go.  Take pictures of your children immediately at the beach. This will be a great source of identification in the search for everyone who has the photo since the child in the photo will be wearing the actual bathing suite he or she is currently wearing.

Last, having an unusual colored beach umbrella, or beach towels, that you have familiarized your child with could also be helpful if the child is in the general vicinity.

At the earliest age possible, teach your children to pronounce their full name and town to assist anyone who finds him or her..

* Often mistakenly called undertows, these powerful currents pull even experienced swimmers away from shore. Panic and drowning often result. The currents are formed when water rushes out to sea in a narrow path. This happens when there is a break in a near shore sandbar or the current is diverted by a groin, jetty or other barrier. Rip currents can extend 1,000 feet offshore, reach 100 feet in width and travel up to 3 mph. Some are present a few hours; others are permanent. Rip currents are more prevalent after storms.
Telltale signs of a riptide:
* A difference in water color – either murkier from sediments or darker from greater depth.
* A difference in the waves – larger, choppier waves in the rip current; smaller, calmer waves in front of the bar.
* Foam or objects moving steadily seaward.
* An offshore plume of turbid water past the sandbars. Polarized sunglasses cut glare and help to spot rip currents.

What To Do:
* If you’re caught in a rip current, don’t panic or swim against the current. Swim parallel to shore until you are out of the current. Rip currents are rarely more than 30 feet wide. If you can’t break out of the current, float calmly until it dissipates, usually just beyond the breakers. Then swim diagonally to shore. If you don’t swim well, stay in wading depths and watch for sudden drop-offs.