GILBERT, Ariz. – May is National Water Safety Month and the Gilbert Fire Department has partnered with the Pool swimming school to teach the public about swimming pool safety.
Drowning is quick and quiet. It can happen in as little as 20 to 60 seconds.
Deputy Fire Chief Mark Justus said driving patients to hospital after responding to a drowning call was one of the worst assignments.
“Every time you look at the face of one of those kids you’re working on, you see your own,” he said. “The only calls that have stayed with me are the drownings I’ve been on.”
It’s one of the reasons the fire department has partnered with Swimhaus for the month of May.
Swimhaus owner Jim Gleason says families should follow the ABCD of water safety:
- AAdult supervision
- VSPublic relations courses for adults, swimming lessons for children
- Devices, like Coast Guard-approved life jackets for children who can’t swim
“You need to have all of those layers in place to give your kids a chance to be safe in and around the water and avoid tragedy,” Gleason said.
Both Gleason and the Chief say that a designated supervising adult must turn off their phone – their eyes must be in the water at all times.
And while they’re talking about safety, the two groups are hosting a children’s shoe drive to benefit One Small Step AZ, which provides free clothing and shoes to the community. There are four shoe drop-off points, including one at Swimhaus.
Classes at Swinhaus are designed for babies and children from 3 months.