VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.- You're enjoying a day on the beach when you see someone distressed in the water. Your first instinct might be to jump in and save them but first responders say you should flag down a lifeguard, call 911. Treat it like any other emergency situation.
“First thing in an emergency situation is call 9-1-1. There are people that are trained that are going to show up and we want to get them there as fast as we can,” Gill said.
Tom Gill Chief of teh Virginia Beach lifesaving service says he says he sees it happen every year, an untrained rescuer becomes a victim while trying to save someone from drowning.
“When you put yourself into the area where a victim can grab you that is actively drowning and panicking your going down,” Gill said.
Even with the risk, beach goers still say it would be hard for them to stand idle while watching someone struggle.
“I would definitely go in,” Bodmer said.
Dennis Bodmer considers himself a decent swimmer. He says he wouldn't think twice before jumping in to try to save someone who was drowning.
“By the time you called it could be too late. It’s a difficult choice but you either got to go in or find someone to go in with you,” Bodmer said.
Gill Says if you still choose to attempt the rescue on your own grabbing something that floats to take with you is your best chance of survival.
“At the very least boogie board, surfboard, pool noodle, coolers float. Take something so that you are never in direct contact with the victim should you decide that you are going to enter the water to help someone,”Gill says.
Gil says lifeguards are not just swimmers but also extremely trained, let them do their job if you think someone may be drowning.