Mar 082011

PHOENIX — One day after a 4-year-old boy drowned in his backyard pool, firefighters blanketed a north Phoenix neighborhood in an effort to prevent such tragedies in the future.

Firefighter Scott McDonald, walking through a neighborhood near 17th Avenue and Thunderbird, said frustration isn’t a strong enough word to describe five children’s drownings already this year.

“What is it going to take for parents?” he asked, then paused and said, “I don’t know what it’s going to take.”

Firefighters knocked on doors, passing out water safety flyers to people with pools. At one house, a grandma answered the door and assured her visitor that she’s aware of pool dangers. She said she has a separate fence separating the backyard and the pool and even keeps her dog out of the pool area.

McDonald said all of the drownings this year are taking an emotional toll on firefighters.

“We can only keep getting the message out there, we can only keep trying to make pools safer and we can only keep telling parents you’ve got to watch them every second,” he said. “It’s really frustrating and that’s why we’re out here doing everything we can to keep it from happening.”

Four adults also have drowned in the Valley this year.

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