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!

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“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.