By David Madden


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The heat of summer prompts some young people to throw caution to the wind, particularly when they get around water. So this is a busy time of year for the American Red Cross.

There has been a rash of drownings recently, according to Regional Red Cross CEO Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes.

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“We’ve absolutely noticed that there’s been a spike in the number of drownings and regrettably at the beginning of every summer season we see it,” she told KYW Newsradio. “This one seems to be particularly intense.”

Her staff has been busy re-certifying swimming instructors. But that’s far from enough. She insists everyone should know how to swim, at least the basics.

“You don’t have to be Michael Phelps,” Cardwell Hughes added, “but everyone should learn to swim and, at minimum, everyone should know how to jump into water over their head and return to the surface and float for a minute.”

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One big mistake some people make? Jumping in water to save someone. Often, that only makes things worse. Unless you’re trained in water rescue, better to throw that person a lifeline of some sort.

A number of tips are available on a mobile app offered for free on iTunes and Google. Just look up American Red Cross and download the water safety app.