It's always important to plan ahead especially with making summer plans and in Ocean County where there is so much to do in what seems like so little time.

When you go to a public pool or to the beach this summer though, there are some important health and safety tips to follow to make sure everyone has a great time and goes home just as happy and healthy.

Toms River Mayor Maurice "Mo" Hill and Ocean Beach Fire Chief Drew Calvo both released statements this week following the tragedy at Ocean Beach III on Tuesday afternoon urging everyone to be cautious and aware heading to the beach this summer.

"This tragedy is a reminder to us all to be vigilant for our loved ones safety in surf and on sand. Let me remind all of our beach goers, visitors and locals, to never dig more than knee deep in the sand. With all of the storms and beach replenishments we’ve had, beach sand is not compact.  Some call it “sugar sand.”  Do not dig more than knee deep.  Doing so puts yourself and others at risk," Toms River Mayor Maurice "Mo" Hill said in part of his written statement.

“When digging a sand hole, to be safe only dig one ankle or knee deep, so that if the sand collapses, you can easily escape," Chief Calvo said in an exert from his written statement.

There are plenty of health related precautions and inspections that the Ocean County Health Department wants you to be mindful of and adhere to this summer as well.

Many, most are common sense measures but all are things you should mull over before leaving home.

“We want our residents, visitors - and even their pets - to enjoy the warm weather months swimming and recreating in public and private pools, spa’s and other bathing beach locations throughout the county,” Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Dan Regenye said in a written statement. “However, it’s so important we remind people to keep in mind the variety of potential hazards they may face and at the same time provide them with some key precautions to help prevent injury, catching or spreading germs and poisoning.”

Here are the summer 2022 safety and health tips from the Ocean County Health Department:

When it relates to pools, spa’s & water playgrounds:

  • Check latest inspection results on state or local health department website or on-site.
  • Make sure the drain at the bottom of the deep end is visible. Check that the drain covers appear to be secured and in good condition.
  • Use test strips to make sure the water has a proper free chlorine (amount of chlorine available to kill germs) or bromine level and pH. Follow the manufacturer’s directions to ensure proper usage.
  • Check for lifeguard(s): If on duty, they should be focused on swimmers and not distracted.
  • If no lifeguard is on duty, find the location of the safety equipment, such as a rescue ring or pole.
  • Make sure no chemicals are out in the open.
  • Do not fill baby pools with water directly from lakes, rivers or ponds. The water could contain unsafe levels of germs.
  • Stay out of the water if you are sick with diarrhea. If you have been diagnosed with Crypto, don’t go back in the water until 2 weeks after diarrhea has completely stopped.
  • Stay out of the water if you have an open cut or wound (particularly from a surgery or piercing). If you do go in the water, use waterproof bandages to completely cover the cut or wound.
  • Shower before you get in the water. Rinsing off in the shower for just 1 minute removes most of the dirt or anything else on your body that uses up chlorine or bromine needed to kill or inactivate germs.
  • Don’t pee or defecate in the water.
  • Don’t swallow the water.
  • Use well-fitting, Coast Guard-approved life jackets, not air-filled toys (for example, water wings), for flotation assistance.
  • Keep an eye on children at all times. Kids can drown in seconds and in silence.
  • Take kids on bathroom breaks and check diapers every hour.
  • Dry ears thoroughly after swimming.

When it comes to an Ocean, River or Lake:

  • Check for beach or lake closure information on your state or local government website or signs on-site. (Visit www.ochd.com for bathing beach results/closures in Ocean County).
  • Adhere to all beach rules regarding swimming areas and swim only near lifeguards.
  • Be aware of riptides when swimming at ocean beaches.
  • Protect your pets from getting sick by keeping them away from water with possible harmful algae or cyanobacteria. Bath them should you suspect you pet entered contaminated water.
  • Stay out if you see any pipes draining into or around the water.
  • Do not fill baby pools with water directly from lakes, rivers or ponds. The water may contain unsafe levels of germs. Wash your hands for 20 seconds before eating food, especially if you have been playing in or touching sand. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

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