FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Army News Service, June 30, 2009) -- To prevent water-related deaths and injuries, the Army has launched a new interactive, Web-based, multimedia water-safety tool.

The new water-safety tool features safety-related content presented to the user through links, videos and entertaining and informative safety challenges. The new tool can be found on the Web page of the U. S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center at <a href="https://safety.army.mil/WaterSafety"target=_blank>https://safety.army.mil/WaterSafety</a>.

The new tool, which requires users to have Adobe Flash Player 9 installed on their computers, is designed to provide water-safety related content in an appealing and engaging format. Interactive challenges will display safety messages to promote water-safety awareness

Aca,!A"In 2007, the Army lost 15 Soldiers in water-related accidents,Aca,!A? said Dr. Patricia LeDuc, USACR/SafetyCenter Human Factors Task Force director. Aca,!A"Although that number went down last year, we never want to see it that high again and a tool like water safety is going to help us keep complacency low and safe water fun high.Aca,!A?

The new water-safety tool features safety-related content presented to the user through links, videos and entertaining and informative safety challenges. The interactive challenges will display safety messages (tips, statistics and trivia) to promote water-safety awareness, knowledge and a more water-safety-conscious lifestyle.

Four water-safety challenges are available: swimming, personal watercraft, life-ring toss and beach hazards.

The swimming challenge promotes awareness and development of Aca,!A"safe swimming behaviors.Aca,!A? Users control a swimmer trying to swim across a lake to a dock and back. On the way, the swimmer will need to avoid obstacles and conserve energy. Users are presented safety messages for grabbing life rings and collect bonus points or get additional energy for acknowledging the safety message.

The personal watercraft challenge was designed to promote Aca,!A"safe personal watercraft operation behaviors,Aca,!A? officials said. During this challenge, the user will control a personal watercraft while trying to navigate the lake to a dock. Successful safe docking will accumulate points for the user. Before being allowed to operate the personal watercraft, safety-related information needs to be reviewed and checked off.

The life-ring toss challenge is designed to promote general water-safety awareness. The user will have to be on the watch for struggling swimmers and is provided with safety-related information throughout different difficulty levels. The environment changes with an increased number of swimmers and the addition of wind and interference objects.

The beach-hazard challenge is designed to promote beach-safety awareness. This challenge includes information on sunscreen, heat-related injuries and other injuries (cuts and sunburns) common at the beach. During challenge play, the user will control a walker trying to navigate to a destination on the beach while avoiding obstacles on the beach. Bonus points can be obtained by finding items to include sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat.

LeDuc said water safety is just one of many exciting programs the USACR/Safety Center team is working on that will help better engage the total Army family, from the computer novice to the technology wizard.

Aca,!A"Programs like water safety allow us to use exciting visual media to make our safety messages fun, interesting and active for all members of our Army family,Aca,!A? she said. Aca,!A"We are very excited to add this great new program to our inventory.Aca,!A?

-(Jennifer Albert works with the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center)

Page last updated Tue June 30th, 2009 at 14:11