ATCEMS captain reminds Austinites of water safety amid recent drownings

Central Texans are trying to beat the heat this summer.

With the recent drowning incidents in Lake Travis, Austin Travis County EMS Captain Darren Noak wants to remind everyone of some safety reminders before hitting the water.

"We want to encourage really everyone on a boat to wear a life jacket, but especially those weaker swimmers and the children," says Austin Travis County EMS captain Darren Noak.

According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for kids under the age of five.

To prevent those tragedies, Captain Noak says always keep an eye on the kids.

"It's a good idea to assign a water guardian who's really only specific goal is to watch everyone who's in the water and keep track of them," says Noak.

Captain Noak says it's important to know what drowning looks like.

"If you see someone who's got their head tilted back, they're very low in the water, and they're just trying to keep their mouth and nose above the water, they may be hyperventilating or gasping for air," says Noak.

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Austin has a lot of outdoor water activities to take part in this summer. Captain Noak wants you to keep in mind boats give off carbon monoxide.

"Swimmers that find themselves by the back of the boat can be overcome by the carbon monoxide and then become a statistic for the drowning incident because they've been overcome by the carbon monoxide fumes," says Noak.

In case of an emergency on the lake, Captain Noak says it's always important to know your location.

"We do have a new pilot program that's been in effect for about a month or so now. Some of our medics are stationed on the lake patrol boats with Austin Police Department," says Noak.

EMS recommends those who are spending time on the lake this summer to download What3Words app, it's an application first responders use to locate the location of a boat or patient.

"The three words app breaks the entire globe down into ten feet by ten-foot squares and assigns them a three-word address, basically. And so, in those times, it's a lot easier to pull your phone out. And that phone will tell you that three-word address. And then you can relate that to the dispatchers, who then can relate that to the responding agencies as well," says Noak.