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9 drownings this year in Mesa prompt officials to boost public awareness

Aug. 29, 2007

The drowning of a 2-year-old in a backyard pool Tuesday night has brought the number of water related deaths to 9 in Mesa this year. Mesa Fire Department Water Safety Specialist Michele Adamczyk says the high number of drownings may be partly because of new residents who are not aware of the dangers involved in having a backyard pool.

Adamczyk says that the department is constantly offering classes on water safety and swim lessons, as well as door to door awareness campaigns, safety events and online tutorials.

Ethan Foerstner, 2, was found in his backyard pool by his father on Tuesday evening. According to Mesa Police, the father was watching his three children but lost track of the 2- year-old for a few moments. The boy was found in the pool, but died later at a local hospital. advertisement

Mesa Fire officials say there have been 26 water related accidents this year, with 9 deaths. Six of those deaths were children under six years old. Swim instructor Janice Jaicks says parents need to watch their children at all times when they're around water. Jaicks also recommends that young children should start swim lessons as young as 10 months, and says that pool fences and locks to outside doors add an extra layer of protection.

Labor Day weekend is notorious for drownings in Arizona, and firefighters are asking parents to be diligent in watching their children around water, and make sure all pool fences, doors and locks are functioning properly.

It is also recommended that there is a designated "pool watcher" to keep an eye on kids when they are around water.
Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
By Mike Warner
Copyright 2007 Arizona Republic

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