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    Credit: NICK ORABOVIC

Aquatics professionals can play a big role in protecting swimmers against a preventable drowning death as a result of dangerous breath-holding. Here are four tips from Gareth Hedges, associate general counsel for The Redwoods Group in Morrisville, N.C.

1 Drill baby! Because those practicing risky breath-holding are likely to be strong adults, it might be intimidating for a young guard to confront them. For that reason, in-service drills that include information on how to speak with someone clearly and authoritatively are very important.

2 Inform patrons. Include information in member bulletins, newsletters and other communications.

3 Set ‘em up. To test your guards on how they’ll react to someone engaging in unsafe breath-holding, set up a mock scenario.

4 Offer support. Make sure guards fully understand that they have the support of all management when it comes to preventing shallow water blackout.