Saving Two Lives

Life Jacket

Typically around this time each year, the Brazos River Authority's Lake Granbury office holds a fun-filled, educational Water Safety Awareness Day, handing out free life jackets and giveaways at Rough Creek Park.

But not much has been typical about this past year with the effects COVID-19 has had in so many areas of our lives. One thing will, however, always remain the same. Wearing a life jacket saves lives.

But as with everything in this pandemic, we adapt.

So, with the help of Carter BloodCare, the BRA is hosting an event in Granbury that will help provide families with free kid's lifejackets and add to the 4.5 million American lives that are saved each year through blood donations.

The Hood County community is invited to come out Saturday, May 1, to the BRA Lake Granbury office at 4552 Mambrino Highway for a free kid's life jacket, to participate in the blood drive or both!

Unlike previous years of Lake Granbury's Water Safety Awareness Day, this event is a drive-thru experience. Youth life jackets will be given away while supplies last from 9 to noon or when supplies run out. Parents or guardians should know their child's weight before they come, then simply pull into the parking lot. Sizing for youngsters depends on weight and not chest size, as it does with adults.

We'll have bags of fun, educational goodies for the kids and great water safety info for parents, too!

Every layer of protection is important to ensure not one life is lost, as drownings are 100 percent preventable, said Kyle Lewis, BRA Lake Granbury Project Manager/Program Coordinator.

"We just want to make sure any kid that needs a life jacket has access to a quality life jacket so they can enjoy the water and be safe this summer," Lewis said.

Kids tend to quickly outgrow their life jackets, so many families may be due to replace the one they have, Lewis said. A life jacket that is too big will go over a child's head when they jump in the water, and a life jacket that is too small might not hold them up, he said.

Granbury Staff

Have the kiddos try on the life jacket before they leave the Lake Granbury office, Lewis said. The life jacket should fit comfortably snug. Fasten and secure all the straps and have them raise their arms. The vest should stay and not ride up or go above your ears.

"We want everyone to be safe this summer," Lewis said.

A few groups will also be on hand to talk water safety and hand out goodies to those in the drive-thru line, including Cook Children's Medical Center's Safe Kids North Texas Fort Worth.

There remains a large misconception that drowning is loud, involves splashing, and someone bobbing up and down in the water. But that's not the case. Lewis said drowning is sudden and silent.

Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. The main factors that affect drowning risk are lack of swimming ability, lack of barriers to prevent unsupervised water access, lack of close supervision while swimming, location, failure to wear life jackets, alcohol use, and seizure disorders, according to the CDC.

Also at the event, visitors can donate blood while on-site, though a blood donation is not required for a life jacket.

The need has been that much greater during the pandemic as a national shortage of blood and plasma products has occurred. Healthy adults who are at least 17 years old or age 16 with parental consent in Texas, and that weigh at least 110 pounds may donate whole blood every 56 days, according to Carter BloodCare.

Save time by registering online here before arriving to secure a timeslot or call 800-366-2834. Appointments are available from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Blood donations are about an hour of your time to save a life. To sweeten the deal, Carter BloodCare is providing gift certificates for a free queso from Chuy's while supplies last.

Someone needs blood every three seconds. Blood fights infection and helps heal wounds. Much of today's medical care depends on a steady supply of blood from healthy donors, and there is no substitute for human blood, according to Carter BloodCare.

Those who have had COVID-19 can donate as long as they are recovered and feeling well, said Carter BloodCare Consultant Michaela Donahue. Donations can also be made after receiving any of the COVID-19 vaccinations as long as the person is feeling healthy, she said. There is no wait time after the vaccination for blood donation. Carter BloodCare is still providing COVID-19 antibody testing. The test is an indicator of someone's exposure to coronavirus but is not an indicator of immunity to COVID-19. For more information on that, go here.

Give Blood

A few tips before giving blood from Carter BloodCare:

  • Eat a low-fat meal two to four hours before giving.
  • Drink lots of water or juice before and after donating. Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine products for 12 hours before and after donating.
  • Strenuous activity: Avoid for 12 hours after donating.

What's the process like?

  1. When you arrive, you will be asked to present a photo ID, which is required at all donations.
  2. A trained Carter BloodCare staff member will go over your health history with you to make sure you are healthy enough to give, and patients can safely receive your blood. The staff member will check your temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and blood count.
  3. You will be asked to lie back and relax while your arm is cleaned with an antiseptic. A phlebotomist will take your blood using a brand new, sterile needle. This process lasts approximately 10 minutes for whole blood and collects about one pint of blood. Once the draw is complete, your phlebotomist will carefully remove the needle, apply pressure to the area, add a Band-Aid or wrap, and have you slowly get up.
  4. It is important to eat and replenish fluids after a donation. It is normal for the donation site to be tender for a few days, and sometimes a bruise can appear. If you have any questions or concerns after donating blood, contact the Donor Advocate at 817-343-2569 or donoradvocate@carterbloodcare.org.

Hopefully, we can return to an in-person Water Safety Awareness Day in 2022, but until then, it's important we continue to work together to save a life.

Wear a life jacket. Donate blood. Be a hero.