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Drowning video viewing urged

May. 1, 2003

GILBERT - A 23-minute shock video about drowning should be mandatory viewing for anyone who wants to build a swimming pool in Gilbert, Fire Chief Collin Dewitt says.

The Water Safety Coalition, a citizen arm of the Fire Department, proposed the idea to the Town Council this week. Dewitt was there to support the coalition, sporting a button with a line through the word "drownings."

"We get passionate about it because it is so preventable," he said.

The drowning deaths of twin girls in Gilbert last month spurred the idea, board member James Leiferman said. In November 2001, voters repealed an ordinance requiring pool fences.

The coalition initially made the video for moms clubs, churches and schools. It includes 911 calls, pictures of near-drowning victims and footage of a Gilbert mother at her child's grave.

"It's very emotional, very graphic," Leiferman said. "It sticks with you."

Council members will view the video on their own before considering the proposal. They are also considering waiving pool permit fees for people who agree to build a fence, which could raise permit prices.
Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
By Stephanie Paterik
Copyright 2003 Arizona Republic

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