Nov 042011

One drowning is too many as far as Chandler Fire Chief Jeff Clark is concerned, but five incidents involving children in the first two months of the year is a call to action.

As a result, Chandler Fire Department is undertaking a community-wide effort to educate residents about the importance of direct and constant adult supervision of children around water. In the past 10 weeks in Chandler there have been five incidents involving children and water, resulting in one death. In the other four cases, children nearly drowned.

“Our average yearly total is five and we’ve had five in the first two months of the year alone,” Clark said. “That’s what’s alarming to us. That they’ve occurred in the winter months does not leave very good prospects for the summer if we continue without raising the awareness of the public. It’s the public that’s going to have to help us slow this rate down.”

The main thrust of the Fire Department’s campaign is to emphasize to adults the importance of securing their swimming pools, supervising children around water, teaching children to swim and learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

“If we can get everyone to remember and follow our message, ‘Eye to Eye to Supervise,’ then our campaign will be successful,” Clark said. “Direct adult supervision is the best way to protect children from drowning. If adults keep their focus as they interact with children anywhere around water, we will save lives.”

Fire Department personnel will emphasize pool safety and water awareness throughout March by speaking to residents in a variety of places. On March 26, volunteers will join firefighters in walking the streets of the city with the goal of taking that message to every household.

“We’ve never done anything to this extent,” Clark said. . . . “The challenge during the month of March is to hit everyone in Chandler with this message.”

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