Be Water Aware

Be Water Aware

United Kingdom: Today marks the beginning of the Chief Fire Officers Association’s (CFOA) Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week! The campaign, ‘Be Water Aware’, will raise awareness all week long of the dangers of being near water. They’ve targeted specific groups, such as runners and walkers, due to finding that 44% of people that drown in the UK had no intention of actually being in water.  We sometimes always focus our attention on activities in and on the water yet the data for the UK shows that people doing every day activities construe a large percentage of their annual drowning victims. Universal data classification and collection is of the utmost importance in the drowning prevention fight.  Dozens of countries have little to no drowning data.  This targeted campaign is a testament to how proper data collection can turn the tide against drowning. The UK recently created and launched the UK’s first Drowning Prevention Strategy, supported by the World Health Organization.  The Drowning Prevention Strategy was developed by several associations that make up the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF). Their goal is simple: reduce the number of drownings in the UK by 50% by 2026. Dawn Whittaker, the CFOA lead for Drowning Prevention and Water Safety, said: “Fire Services frequently have large bodies of water in their communities – in rivers, canals, reservoirs, dis-used quarry sites or indeed on the coast – which form an important part of their community risk assessments.” Fire and rescue services, 52 in total, will be participating in organized events, providing water safety information to local communities throughout the week. You can find out more information on their website,...
Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium

Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium

“Scientists have discovered that the physical attributes of the Great Lakes combined with strong and rapidly changing wind, results in extreme weather conditions that can be deadly. Many people have died as a result of short wave periods that result in rapidly crashing waves and dangerous currents.“ Since 2010, we’ve lost 445 human lives to drowning in the Great Lakes.  There have been 6 lives lost thus far in 2016. “Virtually all of them were preventable,” says Jamie Racklyeft, executive director of the GLWSC and rip current survivor.  “Often times when we hear of someone drowning in the Great Lakes, we wonder what else could be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Knowing how to swim is important, but there’s much more to water safety.” The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium is bringing together individuals, task forces, communities, park rangers, and organizations.  Their mission is to connect all groups and individuals interested in water safety to maximize collective knowledge, resources, and actions to end drowning in the Great Lakes. The GLWSC has two upcoming Conferences: Cleveland, Ohio Tuesday, April 19 Lake Erie Nature & Science Center 28728 Wolf Road Grand Haven, Michigan Friday, April 22 Grand Haven Community Center 421 Columbus Avenue “We’re bringing together a roster of experts – first responders, wave and current research scientists, meteorologists, lifeguards, and other water safety advocates,” Racklyeft added. “If you want to keep people safer in the water this year, these experts are gathering to let you know how.” The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium is a new “community of BEST practice” getting everyone – from national, regional, and local organizations to...
Safe Greece — International Water Safety Day

Safe Greece — International Water Safety Day

International Water Safety Day: “Safe Greece” for 500,000 primary school Greeks   On May 15 2015, 500,000 of primary school children will have the opportunity to get water safety awareness through, “Safe Greece“, that will involve awareness about the water safety measures and lifesaving sport, as part of Greece’s contribution to the candidate International Water Safety Day, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Health, the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the Hellenic Federation of Underwater Activity, the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, the International Awards Giuseppe Sciacca, and the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Drowning is a serious and underestimated public health problem, as a person might lose his life from it every 30 seconds on Earth due to various causes. In April 28, the project was welcomed enthusiastically by the 100 primary school educators who attended the water safety daily meeting  that was organized by the Peristeri Health Centre and the Health Education Office of the Directory of Primary Education for Health Education Athens- Region C. The program was not limited on May 15, but it continues to allow as many schools and children have the opportunity of gaining the benefit. Several people commented about “Safe Greece“. The scientific creator of the project, Dr. Stathis Avramidis (Advisor for Health Education and Accident Prevention, General Secretariat of Public Health at the Ministry of Health, Officer at the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, and Director of Lifesaving Sport at the Hellenic Federation of Underwater Activity), commented: “In 1992, two remarkable individuals, Greg Bonann and Tai Collins, the creators...
IWSD 2015: Mauritius

IWSD 2015: Mauritius

PRESS RELEASE The International Water Safety Day was celebrated on the 15th May 2015 by the Surf Lifesaving Association of Mauritius at Albion Beach where the DHL supported the events as well as Club Med La Plantation D’Albion. There were 40 participants from Terre De Paix and the aim of this event was to (i) Water Safety Awareness (ii) The importance of Lifejacket (iii) Beach Flag competition. The lecturers for this event were volunteers from Surf Life Saving Association of Mauritius; Mr Seblin, Mr Keesonath Prem, Mr Yan How Hok Lin, Mr Sarju, Mr Soondrum, the water safety officers (to assure safety in water) were Mr Amar Teeluck, Mr Yan How Hok Lin, Mr Kersley and Mr Thannoo (First Aider). We had a wrapped up from last year’s session on water safety by Mr Seblin, then moved to the beach flag competition (related to beach fitness and keeping fit) by Mr Seblin, Mr Keesoonath, the last was the importance of wearing a lifejacket where Mr Sarju added it will save your life in case your boat or craft capsized.  Water Safety tips, watch the weather conditions before swimming, do not  consume alcohol before swimming. Mr Ramharai Viraj – Surf Lifesaving Coach and International Lifesaving Trainer mentioned that look at the source of the problem of drowning and deal with it, use the beach as a source of getting rid of disease and beach flag increase makes a lifesaver be...
World Health Organization: Global Report on Drowning

World Health Organization: Global Report on Drowning

Just a few days ago the World Health Organization released their first ever “Global report on drowning: preventing a leading killer“. The 76 page report is chuck full of facts, data, and prevention recommendations. The report is broken up into 3 sections: Drowning – A Neglected Public Health Issue This is a global burden and data collection is limited. Prevention is vital. Ten Actions to Prevent Drowning Community-based action, effective policies and legislation, and further research are highlighted in depth. Conclusion & Recommendations “Given the multisectoral nature of drowning, a global partnership for drowning prevention should be established…donors and government must prioritize drowning prevention, and its integration with other public health agendas.” Key Facts: *372,000 people die from drowning every year *Over 50% of those deaths are under the age of 25 *Males are twice as likely to drown as females *Drowning kills more children every year than measles and tuberculosis Risk Factors: *Living around water *Young children (ages 1-4) have the highest drowning rates *Flood disasters (which aren’t even included in the overall numbers) *Water transportation (also not included in overall numbers) Preventive Actions: *Install barriers, blocking access to water *Provide capable child care *Train people in lifeguarding, first aid, and CPR *Set and enforce safe boating, shipping, and ferry regulations *Improve flood risk management *Teach children basic swimming, water safety, and safe rescue skills This report is the foundation of global awareness and prevention. As Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO’s Director-General stated, “Drowning is a needless loss of life. Action must be taken by national and local governments to put in place the simple prevention measures articulated by...
Virginia Beach Swim Lessons Making an Impact

Virginia Beach Swim Lessons Making an Impact

It’s taken quite some time — 5 years in fact — to get swim lessons in the Virginia Beach public school systems. friend which might We have Rosemary Wilson, and some local businesses, to thank for that. Wilson is the City Councilmember that first suggested swim lessons be added into the curriculum but the idea was shot down by the VB School Board. Now, with $7500 in donations from McKenzie Construction and the Virginia Beach Hotel Association, 350 elementary school children in Title I schools will receive free swim lessons. That’s a mere $2.14 per child, per lesson to learn an invaluable life skill, in an area completely inundated by waterways. Awareness and education are the first steps in preventing drownings. Has there been a discussion to include water safety education in a classroom setting into the curriculum? Arlington Public Schools has a component of their physical education curriculum dedicated to teaching water safety awareness COMBINED with swim lessons. Don’t get us wrong — we are all for swim lessons. According to USA Swimming, “participation in formal swimming lessons could reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88%.” But, if we are only teaching 350-500 children every year, the vast majority of school children aren’t receiving anything. So, why not add water safety education into the physical education curriculum COMBINED with the swim lessons being provided by such outstanding local businesses and...
Water Safety Hero of the Week: Joseph Breeden

Water Safety Hero of the Week: Joseph Breeden

On August 31 in Glendale Arizona, 10-year-old Joseph Breeden was swimming in the pool at his apartment complex when he noticed a little boy floating face down. Wasting no time, he quickly grabbed him from the water and found help. The 3-year-old was apparently being watched but had removed his floaties. The following Tuesday, the Glendale Police Department held a ceremony at Challenger Middle School where Joseph was cheered on by his classmates. The police department and the school both gave Joseph certificates for saving the child’s life and a jersey of his favorite football player, Larry Fitzgerald. Joseph said in his interview that he had, “never seen anyone floating like that.” This brings up a great point — understanding what a drowning victim looks like. Most are very quiet, which is why it’s called the “silent killer“. Here are “8 Quiet Signs of Someone Drowning” from Reader’s Digest. Take a minute to educate yourself. Joseph is our Water Safety Hero of the Week! (Photo: Glendale Police...
Dean-Callahan Scholarship Fund

Dean-Callahan Scholarship Fund

The 1st Annual Dean-Callahan Summer Swim Off and Volleyball Tournament went off without a hitch on Friday, August 15th, 2014. In fact, there wasn’t really room to move — it was packed. Over 500 hundred people showed up at Mallory Country Club to show their support. The fundraiser created a scholarship for Norfolk Public Schools athletes in memory of two superb young men, Carlton Dean and Joey Callahan. Both of them swam in the Virginia Beach Swim League and for Maury High School. Carlton Dean Jr, at only 19 years old, was killed in a September 2012 shooting. Joey Callahan, 22, drowned after he jumped off the Granby Street bridge in July of 2013. The event was a celebration of these two young men’s lives and what they meant to their friends and family. People came from all over, old and young. I ran into people that I haven’t seen in over a decade — a testament to the two lives we lost all too early. If you are local and didn’t get to come, don’t worry, there is always next summer. So pack your Speedo and goggles because you won’t want to be on the sidelines for the 2nd Annual Swim Off. For more information, please visit...
UNICEF, Commonwealth Games Team Up

UNICEF, Commonwealth Games Team Up

The Glasgow Commonwealth Games are over but it’s impact will be felt for years to come. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) teamed up with the Commonwealth Games in an effort to save millions of children’s lives.  They raised funds through a campaign they call, “Put Children First“. Lord Ashdown, the President of UNICEF-UK, penned a brilliant piece on the campaign via a Huffington Post blog.  He provides examples of where the donated proceeds are going — like that of SwimSafe, an initiative to prevent drowning in Bangladesh. “I also visited a project where children are taught to swim. Why is that important? Because with climate-change-driven monsoon flooding becoming an increasing problem in low lying countries like Bangladesh, knowing how to stay afloat and get to dry land is a matter of life and death. It’s staggering that an estimated 18,000 children die every year from drowning in this flood prone nation. Unicef’s work has already taught 300,000 children to swim, giving them a fighting chance of survival in the years to come.” UNICEF travels to Bangladesh to #PutChildrenFirst...
“Water safety worth the investment in local pools”

“Water safety worth the investment in local pools”

I was lucky enough to come across an article written in the Peninsula Clarion — The Newspaper of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Penned by Erika E. Bennett of Soldotna Middle School, the article is an intelligently written opinion piece entitled, “Water safety worth the investment in local pools“ Ms. Bennett asks, "...how can the school board consider closing Skyview Pool, thus limiting access to a valuable resource that is an asset to the children of this community?" She goes on to say that, "Preventing drownings takes a community effort as well as access to a pool. For students who have not learned elsewhere, the school district is left mandating swimming in high school to ensure their children will be safe around water. With this said, we, as a community, must be proactive as early as possible to avoid accidents, which brings me to my final point. Soldotna Middle School is relocating to Skyview, so why don’t we take advantage of such a wonderful opportunity to teach swimming two years earlier, thus fully utilizing a valuable resource and ensuring more safety for our young people around our waterways?" Ms. Bennett, as you might have guessed, knows how to swim.  She’s a fantastic example of “Swimmers Helping Non-Swimmers” — one of our slogans here at International Water Safety Day. But, what is most astonishing, is that Ms. Bennett is in the 7th grade — So, we’d like to say THANKS for being such an outstanding water safety...