By Heather Chadwick, Snohomish County Fire District 7 Public Information and Education Officer.
Every year Fire District 7 responds to numerous water rescue emergencies in our area, with too many of them ending in tragedy.
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, more children and teens drown in lakes, rivers, and oceans than in swimming pools.
It is estimated that 1,000 children fatally drown every year with an additional 7,000 children ending up in the emergency room because of a near drowning incident.
In 2018, there were 8 drowning deaths in Snohomish County.
Fire District 7’s Water Rescue Team is taking steps to educate kids ages 6 – 12 about the dangers found on the lakes and rivers.
Fire District 7 held a Kids Water Safety Camp on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, with 21 campers rotating through four stations to learn the following skills:
- Paddling Safety: Kids learned how to recognize proper flotation devices to use on lakes and rivers and how to navigate around obstacles in the water.
- Shore Hazard Safety: Instructors showed kids different signs they may see around the water and discussed what they mean. Kids also learned about proper footwear while playing in the water and how to be aware of slippery surfaces.
- Life Jacket Safety: Kids experimented with items that float and don’t float to learn the importance of always wearing a properly fitted life jacket.
- Situational Awareness: Instructors discussed dangers and concerns for swimmers in various types of water. They taught kids how to recognize a distressed swimmer and what steps to take. Kids practiced “rescuing” a friend in distress.
Through our partnership with Lake Stevens Fire, we will hold a second Kids Water Safety Camp on Thursday, August 8th, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at Lundeen Park in Lake Stevens.
Space is limited to 20 campers. For more information and to register for camp, visit: http://www.snofire7.org/preparedness_education/community_education/kids_water_safety_camp/index.cfm.
Fire District 7 and Lake Stevens Fire are dedicated to educating on the dangers in the lakes and rivers in an effort to reduce the number of emergencies and fatalities.
As we head into the warm summer months there is an increase in water rescue emergencies.
Always remember to swim with a buddy, never alone, have a designated water watcher keeping an eye on kids playing, and always wear a properly fitted life jacket while playing in the lakes and rivers.
Fire District 7 participates in a Life Jacket Loaner program. If you need to borrow a life jacket for a day or the weekend, visit Fire Station 31 – 163 Village Court, Monroe – to get fitted and to check one out for free.
Kids learn how to rescue a distressed swimmer at situational awareness station. Photo courtesy of Fire District 7.