Three fatal adult drownings in the last three weeks in Orange County brings our fatality drowning total to 17 deaths just six months into the year. In addition to the adult fatalities – another child just four years or younger drowned in the same three-week time-frame, yet with a non-fatal outcome, bringing that age group’s non-fatal drowning total in Orange County for 2017 to five, according to official County statistics. Total 2017 drowning incidents (fatal and non-fatal) for Orange County so far are at 29 – with 60% of the 17 fatalities being adults age 50 and older.
“Orange County has a problem,” according to Captain Steve Concialdi, a spokesman with the Orange County Fire Authority. “We’re one of the leading counties in the nation for drowning incidents.”
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental injury and death in children under the age of ﬁve and the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 14.
More than 80 percent of these drownings occur in residential backyard pools or spas, but drownings can occur anywhere there is water.
Drowning can happen quickly, without warning, without a splash and without a cry for help.
“Most drowning deaths are preventable,” said Orange County Fire Authority Captain Public Information Officer Larry Kurtz. “When you look at all of the different drowning calls – from small children to the elderly, the circumstances for each one is a little different. What they all have in common though are a series of small events or omissions that occur that add up to become a crisis or a tragedy.”
“If we can educate people to take out one domino in the series – we can hopefully prevent that tragedy from occurring,” Kurtz said. “Like being a ‘Water Watcher’ or someone teaching their child how to swim. Learning CPR or not combining drugs and alcohol with swimming or water. Drowning crosses age and socioeconomic lines and it does not discriminate. It is up to people to take responsibility for themselves, family and people they care about to prevent drowning.”
Swimming is fun and healthy, and we’re blessed here in Irvine with terrific weather for swimming much of the year. Now let’s do everything we can to protect our children and enjoy our swimming pools safely.
Taking a few simple steps will save lives!
Here are the ABCs of Water Safety:
Active adult supervision: make sure to actively watch children in water. Adults should also make sure that someone is watching them or swimming with them. Regardless of your age or swimming ability — don’t swim alone!
Barriers: make sure pools have a tall-enough fence to keep children from wandering in.
Classes: learn to swim, and learn first aid and CPR.
In addition, following these simple rules for pool safety will help prevent drownings:
- Swim with a buddy in a supervised area. Regardless of your age or swimming ability, never swim alone.
- Avoid entrapment: suction from pool and spa drains can trap a swimmer under water.
- Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers.
- Do not let children sit or play on pool drains.
- Keep toys away from the pool, when not in use, to prevent young children from falling in after a toy.
- Keep a telephone outside the pool area. Post the 9-1-1 emergency number on the telephone.
Everyone should know how to swim!
The City of Irvine’s Learn-To-Swim Program offers lessons for all ages and swimming abilities. Classes are available for infants through adults.
Click here for details about The City of Irvine’s Learn-To-Swim Program.
Let’s make Irvine America’s Safe Swimming Capitol!