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When you fall into chilly water, there’s a risk of hypothermia—your body temperature can drop to a fatal level quickly. To help you retain as much heat as possible, assume the HELP (Heat Escape Lessening Posture) position: pull your knees to your chest and keep your elbows close to your sides.

If two or more people are in the water, using the huddle system will help retain body heat and increase survival time by as much as 50%. Place your arms around your partners and link legs.

HELP: Heat Escape Lessening Posture
Heat Escape Lessening Posture
HUDDLE technique for conserving body heat when in water
Retains body heat and increases survival time

Recognizing Advanced Stages of Hypothermia

When the victim has these symptoms, dry clothing, heat, and medical attention are required immediately:

  • Bluish-white appearance
  • Weak heartbeat
  • Shallow breathing
  • Rigid body muscles
  • May be unconscious