MISSOULA, Mont. — Memorial Day weekend is closing in, and with camping can come exposure to cold water.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials shared falling into cold water can cause death, even if exposed for only minutes. As water temperatures drop, the chances of death increase.
FWP officials provided a list of survival tips for cold water immersion:
- Wear a life jacket. It will increase your chance of survival.
- Try to avoid entering the water. If you must enter the water, do it slowly. If experiencing cold shock, hold onto something until breathing settles down.
- Keep your head, neck, and face out of the water.
- Get out of the water as soon as possible. Climb aboard a boat or on top of an overturned boat if you are unable to right it.
- Do not attempt to swim for shore as this will cause greater exposure to the water unless you are in a stream or river current.
- Assume the Heat Escape Lessening Position (H.E.L.P. or Huddle) to protect the body core organs. While floating in a lifejacket, draw your knees together toward your chest and hold your upper arms tightly to your sides.
- Remain as still as possible. Excessive movement in cold water cools the body 35 times faster. Thrashing flushes the warmer water away from the body.
- Clothing provides some protection against heat loss in water, especially a waterproof outer layer. Do not attempt to remove clothing, which traps water that is warmed by the body's heat.
- Carry survival gear including a blanket, hat, and extra dry clothing on board.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks released the following information: