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SAFETY GUIDELINES

1 - Seek medical advice from a medical professional before plunging

Coldwater Collective does not purport to offer medical advice.  Consult with a medical provider before joining us for a plunge.  People with heart and / or respiratory conditions should be especially careful and get medical approval before trying cold water immersion. 

2 - Enter the water slowly

If you have never plunged before, the best strategy is to either A.) climb down a dock ladder into the water, or B.) wade in from the shore.  Jumping into cold water can cause your body to go into shock and increase your risk of hypothermia.  Enter the water slowly, allowing your body to acclimate to the temperature. 

3 - Limit your time in the water

As a general rule, you should not spend more than 15 minutes in water that is 50 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.  Gradually increase the amount of time you spend in the water as your body acclimates to the temperature.

4 - Plunge with other people

Going in with others is important in case of an emergency. Make sure your comrades are aware of the risks associated with cold water immersion, and have the ability to pull you out of the water if need be, and have a phone nearby to call for help if necessary.

5 - Use a flotation device

If you stay in the water too long, your body may have difficulty swimming.  It is critical to get out of the water before that happens.  However, if it does happen, a flotation device can help keep you above water while others come to your aid.

6 - Be aware of the warning signs of hypothermia

Hypothermia can be life-threatening. Symptoms include shivering, confusion, slurred speech, slow or shallow breathing, weak pulse, and loss of coordination. If you or your comrades start exhibiting any of these symptoms, get out of the water and seek medical attention immediately. If medical attention is not immediately available, try to warm the person up with these steps:

  • Remove any wet clothing the person is wearing.

  • Get the person into a warm room or shelter.

  • Warm the center of the person’s body—chest, neck, head, and groin—using blankets and / or warm clothing.

  • You can also use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets.

  • Warm drinks can help increase body temperature.

  • Get the person proper medical attention as soon as possible.

7 - Perform CPR if Necessary

A person with severe hypothermia may be unconscious and may not seem to have a pulse or to be breathing. In this case, handle the person gently, and get emergency assistance immediately. Perform CPR, even if the person appears dead. CPR should continue until the person responds or medical aid becomes available. Keep warming the person while performing CPR. In some cases, hypothermia victims who appear to be dead can be successfully resuscitated.

8 - Warm up slowly

Once you get out of the water, warm up slowly.  Dry off completely and change into warm, dry clothing.  Avoid taking a hot shower or bath (immediately after), as they can cause your blood vessels to dilate too quickly and lead to shock. Instead, use warm blankets or clothing to gradually warm up your body.

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