Memorial Day is less than three weeks away and we’ve already heard of too many drowning and near-drowning incidents in Orange County. In fact, so far this year alone, there have been 12 such incidents – seven of them were fatal, according to the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA). Even one incident is too many. Sadly, drowning and near-drowning episodes happen year-round, and the risk elevates as weather warms and the local swim season begins.
Experts warn that once a child falls into a pool, swallows water and can’t breathe, he or she also won’t be able to yell for help – making drowning a silent killer. Drowning is a preventable tragedy; however, according to OCFA, it 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. Drowning incidents don’t just happen with children, all seven of those fatal incidents that occurred this year have involved adults – anywhere from age 20 to 65. This factor alone points to the need for more education and action by our family, friends and neighbors to prevent these preventable tragedies.
For the second straight year, drowning prevention will be the focus of Water Safety Day at the Aliso Viejo Aquatic Center. Premier Aquatic Services and the City of Aliso Viejo are teaming up with the Orange County Fire Authority and Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation to host the free community event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 21. The event follows our City Council’s endorsement for drowning prevention awareness month.
“Water Safety Day is an important event that illustrates and drives home the message of water safety,” said Dan Berzansky of Premier Aquatic Services, which manages the Aquatic Center. “The activities that we run during Water Safety Day clearly point out the strengths and weaknesses of children in and around the water. They will run through basic swimming and self- rescue skills, CPR and emergency phone use, life-jacket safety and the idea of “Reach, Throw, Don’t Go.” Parents don’t want to miss this lifesaving event.”
Water Safety Day will include games and activities that will test the abilities of swimmers young and old. This free event is open to the public and it’s something folks of all ages should attend. It’s easy to become complacent as our children become more proficient swimmers and we naturally think something so tragic cannot happen to us or our family. Regardless of our age or swimming ability, no one is immune to drowning and it can happen in as little as two inches of water. This is why it’s essential for us all to learn how to identify and reduce the risks associated with activities in, on and around water.
The Aliso Viejo Aquatic Center offers swim and CPR classes that can help us and our families be safer this swim season and beyond.
I hope you will spread the word about Water Safety Day on Saturday, May 21 and bring your family, friends and neighbors to the Aquatic Center … because drowning is a preventable tragedy. For more information, call 949-716-3333.