WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Thousands of Kansans will be enjoying pools or lakes this summer, but those fun activities can turn deadly in a split second.
Just this week, two men have died from drowning, a Fort Riley soldier at Milford Lake, and a 26-year-old at a Wichita apartment complex pool.
It can happen in the blink of an eye, and it affects people of all ages, not just kids.
Cindy Entriken and her family didn’t grow up around the water.
”None of us had had swimming lessons,” Entriken recalled.
But, by the time she was 8, the water took her young cousin, Rodney, away from her.
She remembers her two cousins playing in a pond off the military base they were living on.
“Claudia was able to get out, but Rodney wasn’t,” she said.
The boy had no experience with swimming, and drowned. He was just four years old. The accident was traumatic for Entriken and her family.
“Water, while its fun, is always, always dangerous,” said Entriken.
Now, she makes it her mission to warn people of the importance of knowing how to swim.
”It doesn’t take but the turn of the head for a small child or even a bigger one to inhale enough water that they get into trouble,” Entriken explained.
“It’s not a should we. It’s a we have to learn how to swim,” said Emily McVay, the director of Wichita Swim School.
Everyday dozens of kids and adults are here in the water learning proper water safety.
McVay says not only do the students learn breathing techniques and how to float, but they are taught how to react when they see someone drowning.
“Throw don’t go. if you put yourself in that position and you are not skilled, it is very likely that they are going to use you as your life saving device and you are not going to be able to stay above water,” stated McVay.
She’s hoping each new person that learns these lifesaving lessons, is one less that falls victim to the water.
“Not another family member has to go through that reality, that we could potentially save someone else from that incident,” McVay said.
McVay tells KSN it’s vital to recognize when someone is in trouble and respond quickly. Unless you are a trained lifeguard, experts recommend throwing a floating board, or a rope as the best option in addition to calling 911.