The Burbank Fire Department is advocating for pool safety precautions as we near Labor Day weekend.
On the BFD website, a page dedicated to water safety describes three vital factors in preventing drownings and near-drownings: Adult Supervision, Barriers, and Classes.
A designated adult water watcher should be on alert at all times to ensure the safety of swimmers, the site states. Children cannot be left alone by the water “even for one second,” as this is all it takes for a drowning episode to occur. This supervision should especially be adhered to during busy social gatherings, and children should be taken out of water during times of distraction for adults such as taking phone calls or using the restroom, and even BBQing. Furthermore, caution should be taken while children are around any kind of body of water, including in-ground, aboveground, and inflatable swimming pools.
“As we all know, children are very active and curious by nature,” Burbank Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Hatch said. “A responsible person with no distractions should always be assigned to monitor children around water as it only takes one misstep to fall in the water, hit your head, or struggle when unattended.”
Pool barriers are an additional effective method in preventing drownings, especially amongst youth swimmers. Fencing that is self-closing and self-latching maintains that children are at a safe distance from the water. To further this safety measure, adults may keep barrier gates locked or alarmed so they will be alerted if a child attempts to trespass this area.
Swimming lessons and CPR courses can both be very useful in avoiding dangerous pool situations. The City of Burbank Parks and Recreation Department offers aquatic classes in group settings for ages three to 13 years old, as well as classes for ages 13 and up. CPR courses taught near you can be found via the American Red Cross website.
“Prevention is the first vital link,” Hatch said of water safety. “Educating your family on what to do in the case of drowning or near-drowning is an essential element to survival. Do your children know how to call 911? Do they know the home address? Does someone in the house know CPR? CPR is a vital link that will save a life in a pulseless and non-breathing patient prior to 911 resources arriving to render pre-hospital care.”
According to the American Red Cross, a leading cause of death for young people in the United States is drowning. Among toddlers ages one to four, they report, drowning accounts for more deaths than any other source other than birth defects. In addition, an average of ten people pass away from drowning daily, with about two of those victims being under the age of 14.
The department’s responses to drowning incidents vary annually, and this year has seen no fatalities thus far. This is a rare occurrence, like most years the BFD responds to more calls for drowning or near-drowning incidents during warmer summer months. Although the school year is beginning and summertime is fading, being careful around water is still vital for swimmers and all pool attendees. Measures such as wearing life vests when necessary, never swimming alone, and not diving into waters headfirst can all help promote safety around pools.
“The weather remains warm and Labor Day is approaching,” Hatch said. “It only takes a moment and life can turn on a dime. This particular tragedy is preventable in almost all cases and we all need to work together proactively to monitor and promote pool safety in our homes and public pools. Enjoy your pools but take a moment to prepare, educate and provide that supervision.”