Save a Life — Be a Water Watcher!

Summer is a time for fun in the water, especially here in Southern California.

But far too often this summer, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Orange County Fire Authority, I have received a notice that there has been another drowning or near drowning at our local swimming pools.

Irvine Community Services Commissioner Lauren Johnson with Water Watcher Tag.

The news was particularly devastating this past Sunday: A 5-year-old girl was drowned in an Irvine swimming pool. She was found at 4:23 p.m. in a community pool at 120 Spring Valley.  Fire Captain Larry Kurtz said there were “lots of other kids in the pool when she was discovered” and that a nurse pulled her from the water and performed CPR.  It was too late.

Please, please, please be vigilant and assign a Water Watcher at all times near water, so these tragedies can be prevented!

Drownings occur without a sound, quickly and silently. Drowning continues to be the leading cause of accidental death among children age five and under. The majority of drowning and near drowning incidents occur in residential swimming pools and in open water sites. Drowning usually occurs quickly and silently.  Drownings and near-drownings can happen in a matter of seconds.

The good news is that drowning is 100% preventable!

To combat this needless tragedy, never swim alone and volunteer to be a Water Watcher.

A Water Watcher is a responsible adult who agrees to watch the children in the water without distractions, and to wear a Water Watcher tag.

The Water Watcher wears a tag stating:

Wearing this tag, I accept responsibility to supervise the children in and around the water, keeping them in sight at all times.  To prevent children from drowning, I’ll avoid distractions such as talking on the phone, reading, or poolside chats.  Before I leave the area, I will give this tag to the next adult water watcher who can swim.”

After a certain amount of time (such as 15-minutes), the Water Watcher card is passed to another adult, who is then responsible for the active supervision.

Water Watcher tags are available at your nearest Orange County Fire Authority Fire Station.

You can also call OCFA at 714-573-6200.

If you’re in Irvine, I will bring Water Watcher tags to you. Send me an email at mefox@cityofirvine.org.

Drowning is preventable.  Let’s prevent it from happening in our communities.

Let’s make Irvine the nation’s Safest City for Swimming!

 

 

Let’s Make Irvine America’s Safe Swimming Capital!

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.

These deaths are preventable!

“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!

Let’s Make Irvine America’s Safe Swimming Capital!

13510795_10154365830484225_6702798796533496170_n

“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. Drowning can happen quickly, without warning, without a splash and without a cry for help. Already this year, the county has seen 15 fatal drownings. In 2015, 50 people fatally drowned in Orange County.

These deaths are preventable!

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 young lives.

Here are the ABCs of pool safety:

poolsafety-03Active supervision: make sure to actively watch children in water. Adults should also make sure that someone is watching them or swimming with them. 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.

The City of Irvine’s Learn-To-Swim Program offers lessons for all swimming abilities. Classes are available for infants through adults.

Click here to view details about Learn-to-Swim levels.

  • Lessons are offered in two or four week sessions.
  • Please check schedules for dates.
  • Winter & Spring session classes are offered Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday for 25 or 40 minutes.
  • Summer session classes are offered Monday-Thursday for 25 minutes or Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday for 40 minutes.
  • Duckling classes are two weeks on Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday for 25 minutes.
  • Adult and Teen classes are offered Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday and are 40 minutes.
  • Saturday session classes are 25 minutes for children; 40 minutes for Adults.
  • Private instruction is 25 minutes.

To make our swimming pools as safe as possible, please practice Irvine’s suggested pool safety guidelines, learn CPR, and teach your children how to swim.

Here are Irvine’s Swimming Pool Safety guidelines:

SECURE THE POOL AREA

Professionally install a pool fence that is five feet high around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings. Tables, chairs, tree branches or other protrusions should be moved away from the fence to prevent a young child from getting over, under or through the fence.

Gates should be self-closing and self-latching, opening outward, away from the pool. The gate latch should be placed at the top of the gate and be inaccessible from the outside by small children.

All doors and windows leading to the pool should always be secured and locked at all times.

Additional “layers of protection” include safety covers, alarms on doors and motion-detection devices.

Safety equipment, such as a ring buoy and shepherd’s crook, should always be available.

ALWAYS HAVE ADULT SUPERVISION

Swim lessons, flotation devices and safety equipment should never be substitutes for proper adult supervision at all times. Twenty-five percent of all drowning victims have had swimming lessons.

NEVER leave children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment.

Assign an adult Water Watcher to supervise the pool/spa area, especially during social gatherings.

Babysitters and guardians should always be instructed about potential hazards in and around the pool.

If a child is missing, check the pool first.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Set water safety rules for the whole family before entering the water, including:

  • Always enter the water feet first and look before you leap.
  • Swim with a buddy in a supervised area. 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.

Now let’s make Irvine America’s Safe Swimming Capital!

 

Swimming Pool Safety: Simple Steps Save Young Lives

poolsafety.03

A five-year-old boy in Irvine is in critical condition after being found in the family’s backyard swimming pool.  According to the Orange County Fire Authority, drowning accidents are the leading cause of injury/deaths among children under 5.  More than 80 percent of the drownings occur in residential backyard pools or spas.  It can happen quickly, without warning, without a splash and without a cry for help.

pool safety.01Recently, there has been an increase in pool drownings in Orange County. O.C. Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said that “We need to stop this trend before it gets worse. We’re not even into our summer months and we’re already into our 16th drowning call of the year, eight of those have been fatal.”

To make our swimming pools as safe as possible, please practice Irvine’s suggested pool safety guidelines, learn CPR, and teach your children how to swim.

Here are Irvine’s Swimming Pool Safety guidelines:

SECURE THE POOL AREA

Professionally install a pool fence that is five feet high around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings. Tables, chairs, tree branches or other protrusions should be moved away from the fence to prevent a young child from getting over, under or through the fence.

Gates should be self-closing and self-latching, opening outward, away from the pool. The gate latch should be placed at the top of the gate and be inaccessible from the outside by small children.

All doors and windows leading to the pool should always be secured and locked at all times.

Additional “layers of protection” include safety covers, alarms on doors and motion-detection devices.

Safety equipment, such as a ring buoy and shepherd’s crook, should always be available.

ALWAYS HAVE ADULT SUPERVISION

Swim lessons, flotation devices and safety equipment should never be substitutes for proper adult supervision at all times. Twenty-five percent of all drowning victims have had swimming lessons.

NEVER leave children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment.

Assign an adult Water Watcher to supervise the pool/spa area, especially during social gatherings.

Babysitters and guardians should always be instructed about potential hazards in and around the pool.

If a child is missing, check the pool first.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Set water safety rules for the whole family before entering the water, including:

a. Always enter the water feet first and look before you leap.
b. Swim with a buddy in a supervised area. Never swim alone.
c. Avoid entrapment: suction from pool and spa drains can trap a swimmer under water.
d. Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers.
e. 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.

Another great place to find swimming pool safety tips is here.

Orange County Red Cross aquatics safety classes and training can be found here.

Orange County Red Cross first aid and CPR classes and training be found here.

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 young lives.

By a Veteran, For Veterans Job Search Guide

jobs.vets.01

by Omar Masry

[Note: This “By a Veteran, For Veterans Job Search Guide” was written by my friend Omar Masry, formerly a city planner for the City of Irvine and now a city planner for the City and County of San Francisco. Omar served in the U.S. Army in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  It is reposted, with his permission, from the website of the City and County of San Francisco Veterans’ Affairs Commission. Much of Omar’s great advice works for non-veteran job seekers, too.]

You must approach the description and translation of your military responsibilities, experiences, and accomplishments in the proper manner to perspective employers. I am a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves and currently a San Francisco City Planner.

Here is my “By a Veteran, For Veterans” job search guide:

Omar Masry, Melissa Fox, melissafoxblog, melissajoifox, Irvine Community Services Commissioner Melissa Fox, Melissa Fox for Irvine

Author Omar Masry in Iraq, 2003.

Alpha

If a hiring manager has to read through four pages of a resume to quickly figure out a quick sense of your job history and your education, you’re doing it wrong!

To make your resume more concise and comprehensible, use bullet points:

Think in 3’s. First, indicate your duties.

Second, indicate something you improved upon or built or were proud (be confident, not cocky. Better to say you excelled/achieved/initiated than to say you were awesome/on point/hard charging).

Third, highlight a transition to a sub-specialty within the job or a special project.

Fourth, add a few more bullet points for jobs with more relevance to the position you are applying for.

Finally, use action verbs as first word of a few bullet points, such as “completed,” “managed,” “built,” etc.

Bravo

Chronological job listing is NOT a requirement; especially if it doesn’t pertain to the job you are applying for. You can put previous jobs in order of relevance, especially if you recently took a part time temp job to make ends meet, but you’ve had more substantial/relevant jobs a year or two ago.

Charlie

Education versus work experience. If new to workforce, education should come at the top of the resume, then experience. If your school experience involved hands-on application relevant to the job, then mention it.

While there are websites where you can enter your MOS and rank/pay grade and find a “civilian” job translation, bear in mind some of the answers are a bit odd/lame/irrelevant. If you try it, only use it as a starting point.

Delta

State accomplishments in numbers/scale; whether $$$, number of people managed, square footage built, state the measurements of what is measurable. For example: You were a Finance Clerk in the Military. An employer has no idea from that title if you handed out $20 bills to buy stuff from the Post Exchange or if you balance ledger books for million dollar accounts.

Echo

Save the resume as a PDF. Don’t hire a resume writer; it’s often a waste of $100-200.

Test, test, test any links to a resume but still send a PDF resume.

If the job is one where you’d like to post examples of projects online (designs, videos, news articles about your work). Include it as a link on the resume and use a service like http://bit.ly or http://tinyurl.com to create a shortened link.

If you work with a recruiter they will want a word document version, and PDF. They often add a logo and other information.

Foxtrot

Military Supervision/Management experience. Explain your rank and the size of any group you led. Were you akin to a Supervisor, a manager, or CEO?

Most civilian managers don’t know what a Sergeant or Captain means. If you indicate you lead a squad or platoon, they don’t know if that means 5 or 50 soldiers.

Did you engage in counseling, write performance or counseling reviews? If so, convey that!

Many employers assume it’s all akin to boot camp and you yell all day, when it came to supervisory experience in the military. Highlight your ability to engage in effective written counseling. Brag (mildly) if you improved outcomes or morale.

Golf

You’re a bit special; your experience might make some managers awkward about asking questions (so you’re not alone in terms of comfort level).

Hiring managers with no military experience might wonder: if you come back “unable to deal” with the lack of a strict work structure; can you function amongst a lot of hippies/hipsters? Play up the fact that you probably dealt with all types in the military. If you think it will work with the interviewer use sports analogies at times.

Hotel

Don’t use military acronyms. If you use terms that sound “unique” then put a short explanation next to it. For example: “Psychological Operations (battlefield public relations/media engagement)”

India

Create a LinkedIn profile. Remove/block photos of you acting a fool on social media sites. Don’t be afraid of establishing a professional facing profile on Twitter or Facebook.

Juliet

If you do all this, and you don’t have someone else, who is a professional, read your resume, then you’re wasting your time. Don’t be shy about asking. If you don’t know anyone personally, and you’re in a small town, check with the EDD (Employment Development Department, or organizations like Kiwanis, Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce, etc.). They’re often looking for opportunities to connect with and mentor vets.

Kilo

Intel. Use Google.com/alerts to receive an email every time a search term shows up online. Follow a company or field and receive emails about it automatically from Google. Read the mission statement of the company you’re applying to (often in the “About Us” portion of the website). Follow interesting companies on LinkedIn, Twitter, and/or Facebook (people sometimes notice it then reach out to you).

Lima

Volunteer or intern. UnitedWay, Friends of the Library, Veteran’s Affairs, Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross, County Parks, City Hall, local Federal agencies like a nearby National Park. Sometimes, what starts out as an unpaid internship can turn to a paid opportunity.

Mike

Practice! Print out some interview questions and ask your friend to interview you or record yourself. Reduce your likelihood of using words like “um,” or rambling.

November

Spell check every resume, cover letter, and email to the company!

October

White space! Leave some room on your resume so it doesn’t have an overwhelming sense of being too full of text. Print it out and take a look at your resume. There is no magic rule on the number of pages (less is more), but generally the first page should convey a fairly complete sense of relevant job history and education. If needed, try to only use the 2nd page to list certifications, and other less relevant jobs.

Papa

Include the same keywords in your resume (to the extent relevant) that are in the job description (e.g. technical qualifications/concepts, lead, manage, supervise).

Quebec

Strongly advise against expensive private schools in combination with private loans. Be very skeptical on job placement claims. Always ask for increases in Subsidized Stafford versus Unsubsidized Stafford loans whenever job or medical or family expenses change for worse. Do not be afraid to ask for assistance/scholarships. It’s a hand-up, not a handout. You’ll do far more for yourself, and your Country if you take advantage of any assistance now and succeed in the long run.

Romeo

Did you come back from serving, act a fool one night, and get caught up with a misdemeanor? If so, get it expunged. Start the paperwork 2-3 months before you are off probation. If you need help, write a letter asking your County’s public defender if they have a “Clean Slate” (San Francisco Example: http://sfpublicdefender.org/services/clean-slate/), or similar program; in Orange County, contact the Legal Aid Society for help. Check with local law firms (written letter, not a phone call/email), if they do any pro bono (free) legal work with Vets. You’d be surprised how often they just might say yes.

Sierra

Dress Code. Even if it’s some funky/hip company and they all wear jeans, you’re still wearing a suit to the first interview. No sport watch, white socks, or funky ties.

Tango

Your turn: when you are asked if you have any questions during the interview, don’t ask about salary or hours. Instead, ask for a description of workplace culture and priorities. Ask what would make a person successful in this position. Show an interest in any interesting mentions that came up earlier.

Uniform

Consider taking notes during interview. Often times you’ll receive a two-part question. The trick is making sure to look down at your notes and not forget to answer the second part of the question.

Victor

Send a thank you letter; by email OR written letter. Yes, it may seem cheesy, but it’s important. I’ve seen an example where a Vet was only contacted after the interview because he sent in a thank you letter. Or times when the Vet didn’t get the specific job they applied for but received a call months later because another position opened up. Don’t ramble in your letter, but use two or three bullet points in your letter as an opportunity to build upon the interview.

Whiskey

Don’t use the phrase “references available upon request.” If you are asked for a list of references before/after the interview, then list their contact information and also include two to three sentences about how you interacted with them. Did you report to them? Was that person a peer who can speak to your ability to work in a team?

X-ray

Team… highlight your ability to work in a team environment (often with folks you would have never known had you not joined the military) and what you specifically contributed to the team, especially if the job involves small team groupings.

Yankee

Get excited about the next phase of your career. Opportunity is out there. Don’t believe me? Check out tech resources for vets, TED talks for job search inspiration, these job and skill specific job sites, or VetNet (Hire Heroes USA and Google’s Partnership to Help Veterans).

Zulu

Stay the course, and stay on point. Finding a career is a job in itself.