Fire officials: keep vigilance high as children go back to school

(file photo)

(file photo)

August is not the end of drowning season. In fact, in Arizona there is no drowning “season.” Kids and adults drown year round.

Unfortunately, attention is often drawn elsewhere at this time of year. Fire departments and aquatics centers use the opportunity to bring water safety back to the forefront by recognizing August as Drowning Impact Awareness Month.

Lori Schmidt

Lori Schmidt

“We can prevent drownings. We can prevent the devastation that is extended beyond the family to neighborhoods, classrooms, and religious communities,” said Lori Schmidt, public information officer for Scottsdale Fire Department, in a press release.

“First responders and medical personnel are especially vulnerable as they are faced with this tragedy multiple times over their careers.”

Scottsdale Fire offers these water safety tips no matter the individual’s age:

Learn to swim.  Not knowing how to swim can be deadly for adults and children. Classes are taught for a wide range of age groups at aquatic centers and swim schools across the Valley.

“This skill will never drown-proof anyone, but it is an important tool in the toolbox,” said Ms. Schmidt in the releas.

Wear a life vest.  These devices can be used in any body of water – including pools.

“If you don’t know how to swim, wear one,” said Ms. Schmidt in the release.

“And even though the law doesn’t require it, you should wear a life jacket at the lake even over the age of 12.  Your life vest does you no good if you’re struggling in the water and it’s still on the boat.”

A grown up must watch you.  Kids need eye-to-eye supervision.

“This is not the time to do yard work or cook your burgers,” Ms. Schmidt said.

And even adults shouldn’t swim alone.  More than 75 percent of the water related incidents in Scottsdale involve adults.

“Be aware of your risks and don’t swim impaired by medications, drugs or alcohol. Even simply not feeling well can be a risk factor,” she said in the release.

August is a time to renew your vigilance.  Keep gates closed. Learn CPR. And wear a purple ribbon to remember those impacted by drowning.

Ribbons can be picked up at any Scottsdale fire stations, aquatic centers, and the Public Safety Headquarters.

Find a location by visiting www.scottsdaleaz.gov and search “aquatic centers” or “fire stations.”

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

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