Drownings, near-deaths prompt renewed plea for pool, tub safety
Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, Life guard Nick Patzke, 18, keeps an eye on children playing in the kids’ pool at James D. Kriegh Park last week.

Drowning Impact Awareness Month (DIAM) began in August 2004 through the efforts of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Today, DIAM is the largest collaborative water safety effort in the state of Arizona. Governor Brewer, Drexel Heights Fire District Governing Board and Mayors across the state have signed proclamations designating August as Drowning Impact Awareness Month.Why August for DIAM? 

August are peak times for child drownings in Arizona. Back-to-school distractions in August make it a high risk month for child drownings. Safety rules tend to get more lax as summer winds down.

DIAM efforts include wearing purple ribbons to remind everyone about water safety and to recognize the impact fatal and non-fatal drownings have had. Drexel Heights Fire District will have purple ribbons available at our Administration Center in the month of August in case anyone would like to pick one up and help promote DIAM.

Every child drowning is preventable – but sometimes, little can be done for a child once he or she has fallen into the water.  Prevention is the cure, and awareness is free. To prevent child drownings, follow the ABC’s of Water Safety: Adult supervision when children have access to water. Barriers between children and water. Classes like CPR and swimming lessons.

The ABC’s of water safety include multiple layers of protection to prevent drownings. Families cannot rely alone on supervision. Here are some tips when it comes to safety layers:

• Designate an adult to supervise.

• Life vests are necessary for inexperienced swimmers.

• Pool fencing around pools and spas.

• Self-closing and self-latching gates.

• Alarms on doors that lead to the pool area.

• Swimming lessons for children.

• Learn or update CPR skills.

Governing board information: Drexel Heights Fire District Board meets on the third Friday of each month at 9 a.m., in the training classroom next to Station # 1, located at 5030 S. Camino Verde. The public is encouraged to attend. All meetings are handicap accessible and with 10 days written notice, arrangements can be made for the hearing impaired. Your Fire District Board is Chairperson James Bertrand, Clerk Cheryl Cecil, Member Laura Dailey and Member Charles Mendonca.

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